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Monday 19 February 2018

CIA chief visits South Korea after latest missile test raises tension

Japan's helicopter carrier Izumo departs Yokosuka port (Ren Onuma/Kyodo News via AP)
Japan's helicopter carrier Izumo departs Yokosuka port (Ren Onuma/Kyodo News via AP)

America's CIA director is making an unannounced visit to South Korea amid heightened tension on the Korean Peninsula.

An embassy official said Mike Pompeo and his wife were in the South Korean capital on Monday, but would not say for how long.

South Korean media reports said the CIA chief arrived in South Korea over the weekend for meetings with the head of South Korea's National Intelligence Service and high-level officials in the presidential office.

The visit comes after North Korea conducted another missile test on Saturday, and a US aircraft carrier group was in nearby waters.

A Japanese destroyer left port Monday, reportedly to escort US naval ships as Japan increases its military role in the region.

The Japanese destroyer Izumo, a helicopter carrier, departed from Yokosuka port south of Tokyo.

Japanese media reports said it will meet up with and escort a US supply ship, a first-time mission under new security legislation that allows Japan's military a greater role overseas.

They said the US ship is expected to refuel other American warships, including the USS Carl Vinson carrier strike group.

Japan's Defence Ministry only said that the Izumo would participate in an international naval event in Singapore on May 15.

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

"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 is to meet Mr Trump for the first time on Thursday in New York.


Press Association

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