USS Carl Vinson sailed away from, not to, Korean Peninsula

Owen Stevens
April 21, 2017

US President Donald Trump talked up the military moves last Wednesday saying: "We are sending an armada".

But recent Navy photos have shown that the strike group was actually about 3,500 miles away from Korea on Saturday and heading in the opposite direction to participate in joint exercises with Australia before heading off to the Korean Peninsula.

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.

It was widely assumed that the carrier group was patrolling somewhere within range last weekend, when US officials feared Kim Jong Un's military would conduct a sixth underground nuclear test, or would try to test-launch an intercontinental ballistic missile for the first time.

The US Navy announced on April 8 that the armada was travelling north as a "prudent measure" to deter North Korean military aggression.

"I actually have to give credit to the White House because you have a China that is more engaged than ever before in North Korea", he said. "We have submarines. Very powerful".

Following the launch, Vice President Mike Pence said Trump would take a more aggressive stance against Pyongyang than previous administrations. It still hasn't arrived. The anticipated North Korean nuclear test didn't materialize. "However, it's different (for a) political leader", Yang Moo-jin, of the University of North Korean Studies, told CNN.

Before the mix-up was revealed, a spokesman for the US Pacific Command had said the deployment was in response to the "No. 1 threat in the region", North Korea, and its "reckless, irresponsible and destabilizing program of missile tests and pursuit of a nuclear weapons capability".

It isn't clear yet whether the storyline about the Carl Vinson was the product of deliberate deception by the Navy, defense officials in Washington or the White House, or whether internal miscommunication within the government might have turned the snowball into the avalanche.

White House press secretary Sean Spicer, however, compounded the confusion, by doubling down on the President's assertions.

"What the navy did not say is that the USS Carl Vinson should complete another mission before heading north".

He underlined the situation in the Korean peninsula is highly sensitive, and therefore all involved countries should avoid aggravating the situation.

"The training leading up to deployment and on deployment has prepared us to be ready to respond to the call", Kilby wrote.

"At a time of emergency, disinformation could be used as a tactic, but if the USA president spreads disinformation in peacetime like now, it would hurt the credibility of the US", he said.

Questions about what this means in the context of the election, where Pyongyang's increased belligerence has been a key election talking point, abound. He visited South Korea earlier and will head to Indonesia after his stop in Japan.

"If the United States is planning a military attack against us, we will react with a nuclear pre-emptive strike by our own style and method", Vice-Foreign Minister Han Song-ryol told the BBC on Monday. But we're going to redouble our efforts to bring diplomatic and economic pressure to bear on North Korea.

He also says the era of over-regulation "is over" and Trump aims to bring in a new era of jobs and growth.

Other reports by VgToday

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