US Redeploys Aircraft Carrier, Sanctions Entities Aiding North Korea’s Nuclear Program

Aldgra Fredly
By Aldgra Fredly
October 8, 2022Asia & Pacific
US Redeploys Aircraft Carrier, Sanctions Entities Aiding North Korea’s Nuclear Program
The U.S. aircraft carrier Ronald Reagan (C) and South Korean and Japanese warships seen during a combined trilateral anti-submarine exercise in East Sea, South Korea, on Sept. 30, 2022. (South Korean Defense Ministry via Getty Images)

The United States staged another round of joint drills with South Korea with an aircraft carrier and sanctioned entities aiding North Korea’s nuclear programs, as tensions on the Korean Peninsula ratcheted up.

The maritime drills were held in waters off South Korea’s east coast, involving the USS Ronald Reagan carrier strike group, and will run through Oct. 8, according to South Korea’s Joint Chiefs of Staff.

“We will continue to strengthen our operational capabilities and readiness to respond to any provocations by North Korea,” JCS said, Reuters reported.

The U.S. aircraft carrier previously participated in trilateral ballistic missile defense drills alongside Japanese and South Korean warships in response to North Korea’s missile launch over Japan on Oct. 4.

It was redeployed after North Korea held its sixth missile test in less than two weeks on Thursday and flew fighter jets near the South Korean border, prompting South Korea to scramble 30 fighter jets.

Sanctions Targeting Illegal Transfer of Petroleum

Washington on Friday sanctioned two individuals and three entities involved in illicit ship-to-ship transfers of petroleum to North Korea, which it said directly supports the authoritarian regime’s weapons program.

The sanctions targeted Singapore-based Kwek Kee Seng, Taiwan-based Chen Shih Huan, and Marshall Islands-registered company New Eastern Shipping Co. Ltd for their roles in managing the “Courageous” vessel.

The vessel has participated in several illegal deliveries of refined petroleum to North Korea and engaged in deceptive shipping practices, including disabling its automatic identification system, according to the U.S. Treasury’s statement.

The sanctions also include Anfasar Trading Pte. Ltd, and Swanseas Port Services Pte. Ltd, both of which are based in Singapore.

Tensions have risen sharply on the Korean Peninsula amid North Korea’s recent barrage of missile tests, which experts say were aimed to distract the United States and its allies.

Grant Newsham, a retired U.S. Marine officer, said in a commentary published on Oct. 7 that North Korea’s actions will force the United States and Japan to use their “limited resources” against it, diverting their attention away from the situation in Taiwan.

“The Americans and the Japanese have limited resources. They are forced to devote some portion to guard against North Korean missiles (and maybe nuclear weapons) directed against Japan and U.S. bases in the country and beyond—or to handle a ‘conventional’ fight on the Korean Peninsula,” he wrote.

“North Korean actions are properly viewed as part of a comprehensive—if loosely coordinated—effort to distract and put the Americans and the Japanese (and the South Koreans) on the back foot,” Newsham stated.

“And this all ties into a Taiwan scenario. Whenever China decides it is done waiting for Taiwan to give up without a fight, expect North Korea to ‘make a move’ that requires serious U.S., Japanese, and South Korean attention.”

From The Epoch Times

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