(NationalSentinel)Â War: Japanese media is reporting that both China and Russia are sending intelligence-gathering ships to trail the USS Carl Vinson aircraft carrier strike group, which is presenting heading toward the Korean peninsula.
The Japan News reported further that the mission of the Russian and Chinese vessels is to attempt to learn what the strike group’s mission may be, and to gather any other signals intelligence they can.
Meanwhile, Japan Self-Defense Forces are continuing their own preparations for potential conflict on the Korean peninsula, including readying their own military forces - navy and air in particular - to counter any North Korean missile strike.
Japan has purchased U.S.-made Patriot PAC-III anti-missile defenses and is planning on upgrading them in time for the 2020 Olympics, in part due to the ongoing North Korean missile threat.
Vice President Mike Pence was in South Korea on Sunday and visited the DMZ, saying he was “heartened” by Chinese efforts to diffuse the situation. China last week sent nuclear negotiators to Pyongyang in an effort to convey to North Korean leader Kim Jong-un the gravity of the situation, should he continue a confrontational postureÂ with the United States. Those talks, apparently, did not go well.Â Bloomberg NewsÂ reported:
Pyongyang didnâ€™t respond to requests from China Foreign Minister Wang Yi and Wu Dawei,Â the countryâ€™s top envoy for North Korean nuclear affairs, to meet with their North Korean counterparts, according to the people, who asked not to be identified because the discussions were private. The overtures came after Chinese President Xi Jinping met with his U.S. counterpart Donald Trump in Florida, the people said.
Still, the U.S. resolve remains despite a failed missile test this weekend by North Korea, which some believe was due to U.S. hacking, as Pence noted.
â€œEither China will deal with this problem or the United States and its allies will,â€ Pence said on Monday, repeating President Donald J. Trump’s earlier statement. â€œWe want to see change. We want to see North Korea abandon its reckless path.â€
For it’s part, China says that Beijing is not the key to resolving the situation.Â Bloomberg NewsÂ in a separate report noted:
China isnâ€™t the key to resolving problems on the Korean Peninsula, Foreign Ministry spokesman Lu Kang told reporters in Beijing on Monday, repeating a call for all parties to avoid any provocations. North Korea snubbed senior Chinese diplomats this month as tensions mounted with the U.S., according to people familiar with the situation, raising questions about the influence Beijingâ€™s leaders have over the country.
Pence remains in Asia and will be there for a few more days, so nothing will happen until he leaves the region. But clearly the Trump administration has put North Korea on notice: Continued development of a nuclear weapons and ballistic missile program that puts U.S. territory in range will not be tolerated.
Citing unnamed sources,Â BloombergÂ reported further that Trump is not interested in regime change in North Korea, and that he would prefer China handle North Korea.