Pacific

The Latest: US carrier heading toward Korean Peninsula

  • U.S. Vice President Mike Pence, left, and his wife Karen, second from right, with their daughters Audrey, right, and Charlotte visit the main shrine of Sensoji Buddhist temple in Tokyo, Tuesday, April 18, 2017. (AP Photo/Shuji Kajiyama)

    U.S. Vice President Mike Pence, left, and his wife Karen, second from right, with their daughters Audrey, right, and Charlotte visit the main shrine of Sensoji Buddhist temple in Tokyo, Tuesday, April 18, 2017. (AP Photo/Shuji Kajiyama)  (The Associated Press)

  • U.S. Vice President Mike Pence visits the main shrine of Sensoji Buddhist temple in Tokyo, Tuesday, April 18, 2017. (AP Photo/Shuji Kajiyama)

    U.S. Vice President Mike Pence visits the main shrine of Sensoji Buddhist temple in Tokyo, Tuesday, April 18, 2017. (AP Photo/Shuji Kajiyama)  (The Associated Press)

  • U.S. Vice President Mike Pence, left, and Japanese Deputy Prime Minister and Finance Minister Taro Aso listen to a question from a reporter during their joint press conference at the prime minister's office in Tokyo, Tuesday, April 18, 2017. After meeting with Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, Pence held talks with Aso on a new U.S.-Japan "economic dialogue" to be led by the two. The new forum for trade talks was launched by U.S. President Donald Trump and Abe during the Japanese leader's visit to the U.S. in February. (AP Photo/Eugene Hoshiko)

    U.S. Vice President Mike Pence, left, and Japanese Deputy Prime Minister and Finance Minister Taro Aso listen to a question from a reporter during their joint press conference at the prime minister's office in Tokyo, Tuesday, April 18, 2017. After meeting with Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, Pence held talks with Aso on a new U.S.-Japan "economic dialogue" to be led by the two. The new forum for trade talks was launched by U.S. President Donald Trump and Abe during the Japanese leader's visit to the U.S. in February. (AP Photo/Eugene Hoshiko)  (The Associated Press)

The Latest on U.S. Vice President Mike Pence's trip to Asia (all times local):

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2:30 p.m.

The U.S. military says an aircraft carrier participating in curtailed training with Australia before starting its journey north toward the Korean Peninsula.

The U.S. Pacific Command said in a statement Wednesday that the USS Carl Vinson strike group is heading to the western Pacific "as a prudent measure."

The U.S. is trying to ratchet up pressure on North Korea to abandon its nuclear weapons and ballistic missile programs. Vice President Mike Pence said on an Asian tour this week that the era of "strategic patience" with North Korea is over.

The Pacific Command statement said the Carl Vinson canceled a scheduled visit to Australia after leaving Singapore on April 8, but completed a shortened training exercise off northwestern Australia before heading north.

The Navy said earlier that the carrier will arrive in the Korean region next week.

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11:05 a.m.

U.S. Vice President Mike Pence has once again pledged the Trump administration's commitment to defending its allies in Asia from North Korea and any other threats.

Speaking to U.S. and Japanese troops on board the USS Ronald Reagan aircraft carrier Wednesday, he called North Korea the most urgent and dangerous threat to the peace and security of the Asia-Pacific region.

He said that under President Donald Trump, the U.S. will stand up to its enemies with its allies.

Pence also said the U.S. would protect freedom of navigation in the South China Sea, the sea lanes vital to global shipping where China has been staking claim to disputed territory.

The American vice president is on a 10-day trip to Asia that has been dominated by the North Korea issue.

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9:30 a.m.

U.S. Vice President Mike Pence is on board an American aircraft carrier stationed in Japan amid heightened tension on the Korean Peninsula.

A ship bell signaled his arrival Wednesday morning on the USS Ronald Reagan at the U.S. Yokosuka naval base south of Tokyo. The Nimitz-class aircraft carrier is undergoing scheduled maintenance at its home port.

Pence told the ship's captain that he had spoken to President Donald Trump, and Trump "wishes he were here."

The vice president is on a 10-day tour of Asia. He visited South Korea earlier and will head to Indonesia after his stop in Japan. The trip so far has been dominated by U.S. and allies' concerns about North Korea's nuclear and missile development efforts.