Korean crisis: Trump 'sends in three aircraft carriers'

Paterniano Del Favero
Aprile 20, 2017

US President Donald Trump said last week that he had ordered the strike group to head for Korean waters amid talk that unpredictable North Korea was likely to conduct a nuclear or long-range ballistic missile test.

Defense Secretary Jim Mattis went so far as to tell Voice of America that the Vinson, part of Carrier Strike Group 1, had "canceled" its plans to participate in exercises with the Australian Navy in the Indian Ocean just so it could steam up to North Korea.

The USS Carl Vinson strike group includes the flagship aircraft carrier, its air wing, the destroyers USS Wayne E. Meyer and USS Michael Murphy, and the cruiser USS Lake Champlain.

The story unravelled when the US Navy released a photograph showing the Carl Vinson thousands of kilometres away in the Sunda Strait, between the Indonesian islands of Java and Sumatra, on Saturday, the same day Kim Jong-un was making a show of his military arsenal in the streets of Pyongyang.

The president said about Kim Jong-un's threats against USA warships, "We have the best military people on Earth".

"North Korea is the most risky and urgent threat to peace and security in the Asia-Pacific", Mr Pence said. "Very powerful. We have submarines".

That plan was thrown into doubt when photos taken last weekend showed it operating almost 3,500 miles away, off Indonesia.

The White House said the error in the administration's original statement about the aircraft carrier's location occurred because it relied on guidance from the Defense Department.

But now it appears the strike group is headed to Korean waters, with intent to stay for some time.

Pence - speaking to sailors and Marines gathered Wednesday on the USS Ronald Reagan at Yokosuka naval base - repeated the Trump administration's line that all options to end North Korea's nuclear program were on the table.

So according to Spicer, because the ultimate destination of the Carl Vinson is, in fact, the Korean Peninsula, it didn't matter that the White House did not clarify that the aircraft carrier would not arrive there until later on in the month. Secretary James Mattis said the Carl Vinson was "on her way up there" on On April 10.

The official blamed the mixup on a lack of follow-up with commanders overseeing the movements of the aircraft carrier.

It is not clear whether the failure to arrive was a deliberate deception, perhaps created to frighten North Korea's leader Kim Jong-un, a change of plan or simple miscommunication, the BBC's Korea correspondent Stephen Evans says.

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