Tags: North Korea | carl vinson | carrier

Candice Alexander
April 21, 2017

A picture from the U.S. Navy showed the strike carrier group sailing between Sumatra and Java in Indonesia on Saturday.

The White House said it based its statements on guidance from the Defense Department.

But the US Pacific Command explained on Tuesday that the strike group had to first complete a shorter than planned period of training with Australia.

Experts warn that the tests show North Korea is getting closer to its goal of producing a nuclear-tipped rocket able to reach the United States, and that they are working on solid-state rocket fuel that can enable a launch with very short notice.

"He is doing the wrong thing", he said of North Korean leader Kim Jong-un. "We have submarines, very powerful, far more powerful than the aircraft carrier", Trump said.

The US Navy said on April 8 that the strike group was travelling to the Korean peninsula amid tensions over Pyongyang's nuclear ambitions.

The Trump White House is blaming the Pentagon, but it a glaring display of ineptitude that administration officials continued to talk about the aircraft carrier as a deterrent when it was literally going thousands of miles in the opposite direction. The confusion was compounded by an erroneous statement from Defense Secretary James Mattis, who mistakenly told reporters that the exercise had been canceled.

News of the strike group's proximity to North Korea contributed to an alarming NBC report that the USA military was "prepared to launch a preemptive strike with conventional weapons against North Korea should officials become convinced that North Korea is about to follow through with a nuclear weapons test".

Joel Wit, a co-founder of the 38 North programme of the US-Korea Institute at Johns Hopkins University, said to AP: "If you are going to threaten the North Koreans, you better make sure your threat is credible".

However, when the announcement was made, the naval strike group was still headed towards Australia, where it was scheduled to take part in joint military exercises, 5600km away.

The strike force has now been redirected and is heading toward the Korean Peninsula.

The U.S.is moving a Navy strike group into the west Pacific near the Korean Peninsula as concerns rise over the north's advancing weapons program.

"North Korea is the most risky and urgent threat to peace and security in the Asia-Pacific", Mr Pence said. Last week President Trump said an "armada" was being sent.

Other reports by VgToday

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