U.S. Navy Moves Guided Missle Destroyer Closer to N. Koreas Coast Amid Hostile Rhetoric

In this photo taken Saturday, March 9, 2013, the guided-missile destroyers USS Lassen (DDG 82), left, and USS Fitzgerald (DDG-62) arrive to participate in the annual joint military exercises, dubbed Key Resolve, between South Korea and the United States, at a naval port in Donghae, South Korea. South Korea and the U.S. on Monday will kick off the annual military drill amid worries about possible bloodshed following North Korea s threat to scrap a decades-old war armistice and launch a nuclear attack on the U.S. KOREA OUT. Credit: AP

The U.S. Navy is shifting a guided-missile destroyer closer to North Korea’s coast amid the increasingly hostile rhetoric coming out of the country, NBC News reports, citing officials with the Defense Department.

Officials said the USS Fitzgerald is capable of intercepting and destroying a missile, if North Korea should dare to fire one.

“The U.S. Navy is moving a sea-based radar platform closer to the North Korean coast in order to monitor that country’s military moves, including possible new missile launches,” CNN reports.

Moving the “oil rig-like SBX-1″ closer to the North Korean coast could be the first of additional Navy deployments. Pyongyang has reacted angrily to U.S.-South Korean military drills and a new round of U.N. and U.S. sanctions that followed North Korea’s Feb. 12 underground nuclear test.

North Korea’s rhetoric has grown increasingly hostile over the past few months. The country even renounced a 60-year-old armistice that halted the use of nuclear weapons and threatened to use its nuclear weapons against the United States.

The U.S. joined South Korea in military exercises on Monday, ignoring threats coming from the North. South Korea also warned Monday that any threatening action from North Korea would result in a strong response “without any political considerations.”

“The United States has bolstered the exercises with shows of force that include overflights by nuclear-capable B-2 stealth bombers, massive Cold War-era B-52s and F-22 Raptor stealth fighters,” CNN’s report adds.

White House press secretary Jay Carney said Monday the U.S. has not detected any military mobilization or repositioning of forces from Pyongyang to back up the threats from North Korean leader Kim Jong Un.

Carney called the U.S. response “prudent.” He noted that such tough talk from North Korea is part of a familiar pattern.

Carney says the White House takes the threats “very seriously.” But he says the rhetoric “is consistent with past behavior.”

 

The Associated Press contributed to this report.