Carrier Vinson Deployment Extended Amid North Korean Tensions

The US Navy aircraft carrier USS Carl Vinson transits the Pacific Ocean on 31 May 2015

In what the White House claimed to be a move to act as a deterrent to North Korea's recent missile tests and provocations, the US Navy announced on April 09, that the Carl Vinson Strike Group will not make its regularly scheduled trip to Australia and instead, head towards the western Pacific Ocean.

THE declaration last week that the United States had sent an aircraft carrier barrelling towards waters off the Korean Peninsula put tensions with North Korea at boiling point. That's a fact. It happened.

White House press secretary Sean Spicer defended a mix-up involving an aircraft carrier that members of the Trump administration said had been ordered to sail toward the Korean Peninsula amid threats from North Korea.

Anchor: The U.S. Navy released a photograph showing the aircraft carrier USS Carl Vinson was in waters off Indonesia until last weekend.

China, meanwhile, is feeling anything but reassured, warning recently that "a storm is about to break" over the divided Korean Peninsula.

"The statement that was put out was that the Carl Vinson group was headed towards the Korean Peninsula".

He told AFP the rhetoric coming from the Trump administration on North Korea was "overheated and risky", but the strike group's deployment was "not at all outside of the mainstream".

The president and his administration, during heightened tensions with an enemy that has nuclear weapons, told the world a few times that an aircraft carrier strike group was en route to North Korea, when in fact, there was no aircraft carrier strike group en route to North Korea.

Pressed by reporters as to why the White House did not clarify the conflicting information, Spicer said that his statements were not false. "We have submarines, very powerful, far more powerful than the aircraft carrier".

He added that the presence of tens of thousands of USA personnel in South Korea and Japan "gives me great confidence that the United States presence in the Asian Pacific is strong, and under President Trump's leadership it will be stronger still".

North Korea said it was prepared to respond to any USA aggression.

Rear Admiral Jim Kilby, Commander, Carrier Strike Group One made the announcement public on the carrier's Facebook page.

National security adviser H.R. McMaster called the decision to send the ships toward North Korea "prudent".

"But that's not what we ever said", Spicer said.

The United States ratcheted up its rhetoric ahead of North Korea's military parade and failed missile launch over the weekend, and Vice President Mike Pence on Monday declared that the era of USA "strategic patience" in dealing with Pyongyang was over. Mattis conceded that there was a change in schedule, but insisted that the Pentagon "don't generally give out ships' schedules".

North Korea celebrated the Day of the Sun, an annual event commemorating the birth of the country's founder Kim Il Sung.

Asked specifically about redirecting US military forces towards the Korean peninsula, the president said, "I don't want to talk about it". The narrative last week was that the USA and its allies in the western Pacific were gearing up for a showdown with strongman Kim Jong Un ahead of the anniversary of the birth of his grandfather, the late North Korean leader Kim Il Sung.

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