The Latest: US Navy admiral pledges to defend Japan, S.Korea


The Latest on the situation on the Korean Peninsula (all times local):

6 p.m.

The commander of the USS Ronald Reagan aircraft carrier strike group has told reporters in Hong Kong that his ships have an ironclad commitment to defending U.S. allies, including Japan and South Korea.

Rear Admiral Marc Dalton reiterated President Donald Trump’s “resolve to use every lever available to us to convince North Korea to alter its dangerous and aggressive behavior.”

He was responding to a question about Trump’s combative rhetoric. On Sunday, Trump tweeted that his secretary of state was wasting time trying to start a dialogue with North Korea.

Dalton would not confirm South Korean media reports that the Reagan would head to Korean Peninsula waters. Yonhap news agency cited an unnamed South Korean defense official as saying the U.S. carrier plans to conduct exercises with South Korea’s navy.

U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson said Saturday that the Trump administration is probing North Korea’s willingness to talk, but Trump tweeted on Sunday that he had told Tillerson that he was wasting his time trying to negotiate.

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