San Diego-based USS Vinson heads towards Korean Peninsula

Posted at 6:18 PM, Apr 08, 2017

(CNN) -- A US aircraft carrier-led strike group is headed towards the Western Pacific Ocean near the Korean Peninsula, a US defense official confirmed to CNN.


Admiral Harry Harris, the commander of U.S. Pacific Command, directed the USS Carl Vinson strike group to sail north to the Western Pacific after departing Singapore on Saturday, Pacific Command announced.


The move of the Vinson strike group is in response to recent North Korean provocations, the official said.


It is not uncommon for aircraft carriers to operate in that area, and the US regularly deploys military assets, such as aircraft, to the region as a show of force. In fact the Vinson was in South Korea last month for military exercises.


Earlier this week, North Korea launched a Scud extended-range missile, which US officials said exploded in flight. The regime also has recently conducted several missile engine tests as it works to improve its ballistic missile technology.


The Vinson strike group will operate in the Western Pacific rather than executing previously planned port visits to Australia, Pacific Command said. The group will remain under the operational control of the Third Fleet.


Reuters first reported the move of the group.