The strike force - which includes the Nimitz-class aircraft carrier, two guided-missile destroyers and a guided-missile cruiser - was steaming north on Wednesday toward the Sea of Japan, officials said.
Despite multiple reports to the contrary, the Vinson and her escorts appear to have headed away from Korea last week: Navy officials confirmed to Defense News that the carrier was indeed in the Sunda Strait on Saturday, 3,000 nm from the scene of the diplomatic tensions.
So much for Donald Trump the strongman president.
The strike group was now "proceeding to the Western Pacific as ordered". "The No. 1 threat in the region continues to be North Korea, due to its reckless, irresponsible, and destabilizing program of missile tests and pursuit of a nuclear weapons capability", U.S. Pacific Command said.
Further confusion was added when Secretary of Defense Gen. James Mattis told reporters last week that the exercises had been canceled.
Following the launch, Vice President Mike Pence said Trump would take a more aggressive stance against Pyongyang than previous administrations. "The only question that we were asked was what signal it sends, and I think we answered that very question at the time".
The naval strike group had actually spent the past few days conducting drills with the Australian Navy, the official said.
But soon after the Pacific Command statement, USA military officials clarified to CNN that the strike group would first complete a previously scheduled military exercise with the Australian navy.
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This is the aircraft carrier Carl Vinson.
President Donald Trump's administration has denied being misleading about a USA carrier strike group's push toward the Korean Peninsula, saying it never gave an arrival date and that the ships were still on their way. "If you threaten them and your threat is not credible, it's only going to undermine whatever your policy toward them is". Like Spicer, he said it will wind up near the Korean Peninsula to reassure USA allies. That is, we were shifting her.
"The bottom line is in our effort to always be open about what we're doing, we said that we were going to change the Vinson's upcoming schedule", Mattis said.
South Koreans also didn't seem thrilled with President Trump telling the Wall Street Journal that Korea "used to be part of China".
"Our mission is to reassure allies and our partners of our steadfast commitment to the Indo-Asia-Pacific region", Kilby wrote in his message.
Or, as Sean Spicer said April 11, "The forward deployment is deterrence, presence. It is headed to the Korean Peninsula", he said.
"North Korea is looking for trouble".
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