Trump's Korean armada stays near Australia

Nick Mcbride
April 21, 2017

President Trump himself added to the perception the strike group was speeding toward North Korea when he told Fox Business News on April 12, "We are sending an armada, very powerful".

The Vinson battle group is not expected to reach the Korean peninsula until next week.

U.S. President Donald Trump also said he's sending an "armada" to Korea.

At the time, comments from administration officials and spokesmen seemed to contradict each other over the exact reason the strike group was sent towards the Korean Peninsula.

"We said that it was heading there, and it was heading there - it is heading there".

South Korean media outlets were pretty cynical about the whole thing, saying that the Chinese and Russian presidents probably had a good laugh over Trump's "lie over the Carl Vinson", expressing concern that the USA is increasing tensions, but bluffing about sending forces into the area.

Spicer said he never spoke to the timeline of the aircraft carrier's movements, only what message it sent: "foreign presence, strength and a reassurance to allies".

The perceived communications mix-up has raised eyebrows among Korea experts, who wonder whether it erodes the Trump administration's credibility at a time when U.S. rhetoric about the North's advancing nuclear and missile capabilities are raising concerns about a potential conflict.

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The move was designed as a show of force against North Korea's nuclear threat and prompted fears of an imminent war.

The administration appeared to redirect the strike group soon afterward, and on Tuesday, Pacific Command said it now "is heading north to the Western Pacific as a prudent measure".

Families of those deployed aboard the Vinson tell NBC7 they are a bit concerned.

It wasn't immediately clear if the mix-up was due to a deliberate attempt to psych out North Korea's leaders - or a false narrative resulting from miscommunications up the chain of command. "Instead of continuing in one direction, as she pulled out of Singapore, she's going to continue part of her cruise down in that region, but she was on her way up to Korea", Mattis said. "It is happening, rather", Spicer said, while referring further questions to the Pentagon.

A senior USA administration official told the CNN that miscommunication between the Pentagon and the White House, and a lack of follow-up among United States commanders, were to blame for confusion over the movement of the carrier group.

Mr Mattis said the strike group was now on its way to the Western Pacific as ordered.

It was on Tuesday when the strike group finally turned north and started sailing towards the Korean Peninsula.

Other reports by VgToday

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