The commander of the USS Ronald Reagan aircraft carrier strike group told reporters in Hong Kong over the weekend the U.S. has an ironclad defense commitment to its allies in the Asia-Pacific region, especially Japan and South Korea.
Rear Admiral Marc Dalton reiterated President Donald Trump’s “resolve to use every lever available to us to convince North Korea to alter its dangerous and aggressive behavior.”
Dalton made his statements in response to a question about the belligerent tone of Trump’s North Korea-related tweets. In particular, on Sunday Trump tweeted that Secretary of State Rex Tillerson was “wasting his time” trying to negotiate with North Korean leader Kim Jong-un over the latter’s refusal thus far to give up the country’s nuclear weapons program.
Dalton would not confirm South Korean media reports that the Reagan would head to Korean Peninsula waters. Yonhap news agency cited an unnamed South Korean defense official as saying the U.S. carrier plans to conduct exercises with South Korea’s navy.
U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson said Saturday that the Trump administration is probing North Korea’s willingness to talk, but Trump tweeted on Sunday that he had told Tillerson that he was wasting his time trying to negotiate.
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