USS Carl Vinson carrier strike group changes course, heads to North Korea

The commander of U.S. forces in the Pacific ordered the U.S. Navy’s Carl Vinson carrier strike group to change course and head towards the Korean Peninsula in response to North Korea’s advancing weapons tests.

The change of direction was announced on Saturday by the U.S. Pacific Command after the ships set sail from Singapore.

The group is composed of Nimitz-class aircraft carrier USS Carl Vinson (CVN 70), Arleigh Burke-class guided-missile destroyers USS Wayne E. Meyer and USS Michael Murphy, and Ticonderoga-class guided-missile cruiser USS Lake Champlain (CG 57).

The ships were earlier scheduled to visit ports in Australia but were ordered to sail north in a move interpreted as a message to the Pyongyang regime.

North Korea has stepped up missile tests recently and has made several launches since U.S. president Donald Trump took office in January.

The deployment of the carrier strike group to the Korean Peninsula comes following a meeting between Trump and Chinese president Xi Jinping during which both leaders agreed that North Korea should not be allowed to advance its nuclear weapons program.