Thursday 19 October 2017

Japan deploys its largest destroyer to escort US military ship amid heightened tension on Korean Peninsula

Japan's helicopter carrier Izumo departs Yokosuka port on Monday, May 1, 2017, amid rising tension following missiles tests by North Korea (Ren Onuma/Kyodo News via AP)
Japan's helicopter carrier Izumo departs Yokosuka port on Monday, May 1, 2017, amid rising tension following missiles tests by North Korea (Ren Onuma/Kyodo News via AP)
Independent.ie Newsdesk

Japan's navy has dispatched its largest destroyer to escort a US military ship off the Japanese coast amid heightened tension on the Korean Peninsula.

The helicopter carrier Izumo left the Yokosuka port near Tokyo earlier Monday.

Japanese media said the destroyer is set to escort the US supply ship in the Pacific Ocean south of Tokyo later on Monday in the first such operation since it passed controversial security laws allowing Japan's military a greater role in overseas activity.

The US supply ship is expected to refuel other American warships, including the USS Carl Vinson strike group, currently in the region.

Japan's defence ministry said the Izumo left to eventually participate in an international naval event in Singapore on May 15.

Tensions have increased as North Korea pushes to develop its missile and nuclear weapons programs in defiance of international sanctions and President Donald Trump warns of the potential threat Pyongyang's action pose to other countries.

Japan's helicopter carrier Izumo departs Yokosuka port on Monday, May 1, 2017, amid rising tension following missiles tests by North Korea (Ren Onuma/Kyodo News via AP)
Japan's helicopter carrier Izumo departs Yokosuka port on Monday, May 1, 2017, amid rising tension following missiles tests by North Korea (Ren Onuma/Kyodo News via AP)

Mr Trump sent the USS Carl Vinson toward the region, and the US and South Korea also started installing a missile defence system that is supposed to be partially operational within days.

In Australia, Prime Minister Malcom Turnbull used a commemoration of a Second World War naval battle to warn North Korea against military threat.

"Today Australia and the United States continue to work with our allies to address new security threats around the world," Mr Turnbull said.

"Together, we're taking a strong message to North Korea that we will not tolerate reckless, dangerous threats to the peace and stability of our region."

Mr Turnbull will meet Mr Trump for the first time Thursday in New York.

Press Association

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