Saturday, 16 December, 2017

US carrier heading toward Korean Peninsula

Melinda Barton | 21 April, 2017, 20:11

The redirection had sparked fears about a preemptive USA strike should North Korea conduct a nuclear weapons test. Later that day, the carrier had made its way into the Indian Ocean-far from the Korean Peninsula and North Korea, which was busy celebrating the birthday of its late founder, Kim Il Sung, with a military parade.

The Carl Vinson Strike group is now headed for the Korean Peninsula and will reach the area by the end of the month, the Defense Department told the Times.

The US Navy says an aircraft carrier intended as a show of force to North Korea will arrive in the Sea of Japan next week, after much confusion surrounding the path of the USS Carl Vinson.

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".

This would have gone unnoticed but for a picture of Carl Vinson posted online by the US Navy, sailing south through the Sunda Strait, which separates the Indonesian islands of Java and Sumatra.

At the time of the strike group's deployment, many media outlets said the ships were steaming toward North Korea, when in fact they had temporarily headed in the opposite direction. 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. "It ensures our - we have the strategic capabilities, and it gives the President options in the region", Spicer said on April 11.

South Korean presidential candidate Hong Joon-pyo told The Wall Street Journal of the carrier mix-up: "What Mr. Trump said was very important for the national security of South Korea". But it was now "proceeding to the Western Pacific as ordered".

As North Korean leader Kim Jong-Un led a huge show of military strength - parading the country's new submarine-based ballistic missiles and carrying out a failed missile test - the flotilla of U.S. warships was about 3,500 miles away.

"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.

Also Wednesday, Spicer announced that Trump will host Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas at the White House on May 20 to discuss a "conflict-ending settlement between the Palestinians and Israel".

In a statement to TPM Tuesday, a spokesperson for the U.S. Pacific Command did not acknowledge any scheduling snafu.