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20 April 2017, 06:47 | Kelvin Horton
Tensions between the US and North Korea reached new heights recently with reports that a USA 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 U.S. policy on North Korea as articulated by the vice president is to use the threat of military force to increase pressure on Pyongyang to unilaterally dismantle its nuclear and missile arsenals, and to urge China, for the most part, to take stronger measures to force its economically dependent ally to capitulate or face total collapse.
The saga of the carrier might never have come to light, had the Navy not posted a photograph on Monday of the Carl Vinson sailing through the Sunda Strait, which separates the Indonesian islands of Java and Sumatra. Days later, in response to a question about the warships, Trump told the Fox Business Network that the US was "sending an armada, very powerful" to North Korea.
"The Carl Vinson Strike Group cancelled a previously planned port visit to Australia and is continuing on track for all assigned missions in the Western Pacific", the statement reads.
"They are going to start heading north towards the Sea of Japan within the next 24 hours", the official said on condition of anonymity. April 25 is another major anniversary in North Korea, the birthday of the Korean People's Army, and some analysts say the North might try to celebrate with a major provocation.
The U.S. media went into overdrive and Fox reported on April 14 that the armada was "steaming" toward North Korea.
"The president said that we have an armada going towards the peninsula".
US President Donald Trump said he was sending "an armada" to Korean waters to potentially deal with threats from Pyongyang.
White House officials told the Times that the military's Pacific Command made the announcement prematurely, and the mistake was repeated later by defence secretary Jim Mattis.
North Korea has carried out several nuclear and ballistic missile test launches this year in violation of United Nations resolutions. "There's not a specific demand signal or specific reason why we're sending her up there".
But at that very moment, the aircraft carrier in question, the USS Carl Vinson, was in the Sound Strait, according to a scattered photo and a legend stating that "USS Carl Vinson (CVN 70) is in transit in The Strait of the Sound".
He said: "We generally don't give out ship schedules in advance but I didn't want to play a game either and say we were not changing a schedule when in fact we had". Furthermore, this is not how the United States should be treating its allies. "We will continue to be the centrepiece of visible maritime deterrence, providing our national command authority with flexible deterrent options, all domain access, and a visible forward presence".
A fleet of warships President Donald Trump claimed he had deployed into waters near the Korean Peninsula were in fact heading in the opposite direction.
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