That 'Armada' Heading To North Korea? Actually, It Sailed South
- Author: Leroy Wright Apr 20, 2017,
Apr 20, 2017, 20:55
A U.S. Navy strike group led by the aircraft carrier USS Carl Vinson has finally started moving toward the Korean Peninsula after finishing joint exercises off Australia, a South Korean military source said Wednesday.
The aircraft carrier USS Carl Vinson transits the Sunda Strait off Indonesia on April 15, 2017.
Pyongyang and Washington have ratcheted up tensions in recent weeks and the movement of the strike group had raised the question of a pre-emptive strike by the US.
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.
The strike force has now been redirected and is heading toward the Korean Peninsula.
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 White House said it based its statements on guidance from the Defense Department.
He added that the presence of tens of thousands of USA personnel in South Korea and Japan "gives me great confidence that the United States presence in the Asian Pacific is strong, and under President Trump's leadership it will be stronger still". "We have submarines, very powerful, far more powerful than the aircraft carrier", Trump told the Fox Business Network's Maria Bartiromo last week. "There's not a specific demand signal or specific reason why we're sending her up there". Pacific Command announced April 8 that it was cancelling the ships' planned visit to Australia and instead ordering them to "sail north and report on station to the Western Pacific Ocean".
Speaking in Japan, US Vice President Mike Pence said the US will counter any North Korean attack with an "overwhelming and effective" response.
The White House announcement about the nuclear-armed strike force sparked fears across East Asia about a looming catastrophe - as rising tensions between the North and the United States dominated the news.
Despite the reports coming out of White House and other senior cabinet members on Carl Vinson's impending arrival on the peninsula, the US Navy has not refuted those reports, although it has never explicitly confirmed Korea as its destination or discussed a timeline.