Japanese destroyers on Sunday began an exercise with the US Carl Vinson carrier strike group in the Western Pacific as it approaches waters around the Korean peninsula, Japan’s navy has said off the record.

The two Japanese warships, the Samidare and Ashigara, left western Japan on Friday to join the USS Carl Vinson in a show of solidarity as the United States confronts North Korea over its ballistic missile program and nuclear tests.

American President Donald Trump ordered the Carl Vinson carrier strike group to sail to the waters off the Korean peninsula in response to rising tension over North Korea. The group is believed to carry first strike nuclear weapons to kill North Korea’s leadership if ordered by Trump.

Japan’s military ordered the warships to accompany the Carl Vinson north at least into the East China Sea, a source with knowledge of the plan said. He asked not to be identified because he is not authorised to talk to the media. The source went on to indicate Japan is dearly afraid this may provoke North Korea into a direct attack upon Tokyo over the show of support.

Donald Trump has vowed to prevent North Korea from being able to hit the United States with a nuclear missile and has said all options are on the table, including a military first strike, just like Pearl Harbor-where Japanese forces killed 3000 Americans without any prior warning.

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