China and Russia have dispatched spy vessels to shadow Donald Trump’s ‘armada’ as it steams to North Korean waters, amid rising tensions over Pyongyang’s nuclear ambitions.
Japanese media reported the deployment as Mike Pence, the US vice president, warned Pyongyang the “era of strategic patience is over” during a visit to South Korea.
Beijing sought Russian help in averting a crisis over North Korea last week, as concerns grow in China that Donald Trump is seeking to confront North Korea over its weapon’s program.
The US president sent a navy group led by the aircraft carrier Carl Vinson into the region, in what is being seen as a signal to Pyongyang.
Mr Trump described the force as an “armada” and said that submarines were being sent which were “far more powerful than the aircraft carrier.”
Our military is building and is rapidly becoming stronger than ever before. Frankly, we have no choice!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) April 16, 2017
The Yomiuri Shimbun, citing “multiple sources of the Japanese government”, said China and Russia had “dispatched intelligence-gathering vessels from their navies to chase the USS Carl Vinson”.
The ships are “strengthening warning and surveillance activities in the waters and airspace around the area,” Japan’s largest daily newspaper said, according to its English-language sister publication, The Japan News.