In which handout photo through the U.S. Navy, a strike force of Republic of Korea as well as U.S. warships patrol May 3, 2017 within the western Pacific Ocean, led by the Nimitz-class aircraft carrier USS Carl Vinson.
Asked by reporters traveling with him about the three carriers in Pacific waters — the USS Nimitz, the USS Reagan, the USS Theodore Roosevelt — Dunford said which was coincidental. Defense Secretary James Mattis, visiting the Demilitarized Zone on Friday, said “our goal is actually not war” yet rather denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula, according to the Yonhap news agency.
Regardless, experts see a risk still of a catastrophic misunderstanding given the tensions. North Korean leader Kim Jong Un is actually also a wild card because he might pull the trigger first if he believes the U.S. is actually about to strike his regime.
“Miscalculation could come through how does North Korea interpret three carrier strike groups within the region,” said Anthony Ruggiero, a senior fellow at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies, a Washington think tank.
Even so, Ruggiero said he was encouraged by recent comment through Secretary of State Rex Tillerson which there are several avenues for diplomatic talks. “One of those channels could be used to de-escalate something which could escalate into a conflict,” he said.
Data through the Center for Strategic as well as International Studies on North Korean missile launches as well as provocations shows the months of November, December as well as early January “tend to be more quiet,” said Lisa Collins, fellow with the Korea Chair at CSIS, a Washington think tank. She explained which the country’s cold weather can create technical problems during missile launches.
Collins said which pattern of decreased provocations could create an opportunity for “more exchanges of dialogue or reaches out to North Korea through back channels.” (She added which she doesn’t have firsthand information on whether which’s happening at which point.)
Still, Reuters reported Wednesday a North Korean diplomat repeated the dynastic regime’s threat to conduct an atmospheric hydrogen bomb test over the Pacific.
“Are they serious about which — in my personal opinion yes,” said the Heritage Foundation’s Cheng. He said the last few underground nuclear tests by Pyongyang have been greeted by Washington as well as international officials with “open skepticism about whether or not which’s a hydrogen bomb.”
To prove he has the superbomb, the North Korean leader will “do an open air test as well as then there won’t be any questions,” Cheng said.