WASHINGTON – The Trump administration has upped the stakes in the slow-burning confrontation with North Korea, deploying an aircraft carrier to the region this week.
But If the North proceeds with a ballistic missile or nuclear test and the U.S. does nothing in response, America's deterrence will appear diminished.
The USS Carl Vinson is steaming to waters off the Korean Peninsula as anticipation mounts that Kim Jong Un will stage another weapons test around Saturday's anniversary of the birth of the nation's founder. Another potential date: an April 25 celebration of its armed forces.
Tensions are high on the peninsula as the U.S. and South Korea conduct war games, and Pyongyang frequently conducts ballistic missile test launches. Washington's ultimate concern is the North's developing ability to threaten America with a nuclear weapon.