Monday, 23 July, 2018

Oops! Trump's warships were never heading towards NK

Melinda Barton | 20 April, 2017, 06:21

Rear Adm. Jim Kilby, commander of Carrier Strike Group One, armada-finally-heading-to-korea--and-may-stay-a-while/2017/04/19/734ac5e7-ad0c-4395-9cfe-43a9596dca7b_story.html?utm_term=.ba3048e8514f">said in a Facebook post that the Carl Vinson will spend an extra 30 days at sea in order to "provide a persistent presence" near North Korea.

Tensions between the USA and North Korea reached new heights recently with reports that a US strike group, lead by the USS Carl Vinson, was heading toward the Korean Peninsula as a show of strength and to act as a deterrence.

The strike group was now heading to the Western Pacific "as a prudent measure" following a "curtailed" period of training with Australia, U.S. Pacific Command spokesman Commander Dave Benham said on Wednesday.

North Korean state media has warned of a nuclear attack on the U.S. in retaliation for any signs of aggression, a threat that has been made numerous times before.

North Korea attempted but failed to launch a ballistic missile on its east coast Sunday, the latest sign of rising tensions in Asia. Days later, in response to a question about the warships, Trump told the Fox Business Network that the USA was "sending an armada, very powerful" to North Korea. "We want to send an unambiguous message especially to North Korea that any attempt to use weapons of any kind against our allies in this region or American forces overseas will be defeated and will be met with overwhelming force", Pence said in an interview with CNN.

The redirection had sparked fears about a preemptive USA strike should North Korea conduct a nuclear weapons test.

Officials did, however, flatly deny reports that three USA carrier strike groups were being directed to mass off the Korean peninsula in a few weeks.

News that the US hadn't followed through on its threat to North Korea was greeted in Chinese media with raucous laughter on Tuesday, according to The Washington Post.

"The president said that we have an armada going toward the peninsula", Spicer said. But as part of its regular updates about the operations of the strike group after it sailed from Singapore, the Navy posted photos of ships and aircraft along with captions describing them as underway in "the South China Sea".

"We are keeping a fully prepared position against North Korea to deter any provocations, given that many political events are taking place (in April)", he said, referencing North Korea's annual Day of the Sun celebrations.

"The ship is now moving north to the Western Pacific", the Pentagon's chief spokeswoman, Dana White, said Tuesday.

"What are we doing right now in terms of North Korea?"

The naval strike group had actually spent the past few days conducting drills with the Australian Navy, the official said.