Surprise: US Carrier Nowhere Near N. Korea

U.S. Vice President Mike Pence arrives at the border village of Panmunjom in the Demilitarized Zone which has separated the two Koreas since the Korean War South Korea Monday

"White House officials said on Tuesday they were relying on guidance from the Defense Department", writes the Times.

At the moment, the USS Carl Vinson is expected to reach Korean waters sometime next week. Here's Trump last Wednesday talking about the "very powerful" armada he's sending to watch Kim.

"The U.S. Pacific Command ordered the Carl Vinson Strike Group north as a prudent measure to maintain readiness and presence in the Western Pacific", said Dave Benham, a spokesman for the Pacific Command, according to the Agence France-Presse news agency.

The day before Trump's Fox Business interview aired, Press Secretary Sean Spicer also seemed to confirm the strike group was on the way to North Korea, saying during a news conference that "a carrier group is several things".

Defense News' well-known naval correspondent Christopher P. Cavas was first to report on Monday about the Navy's post that revealed the Carl Vinson nowhere near the Korean Peninsula. Officials directed all questions to the Pentagon.

The photo, verified by the Navy, showed the Vinson passing through the Sunda Strait between Java and Sumatra on a heading south - not north to Korean waters. As is customary, the Navy did not say exactly where the carrier force was headed or its precise mission.

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When forces under North Korean leader Kim il-Sung invaded the south in 1950, the newly formed United Nations, led by the U.S., intervened to stop the south falling to Kim's version of nationalistic communism.

Defense Secretary Jim Mattis went so far as to tell Voice of America that the Vinson, part of Carrier Strike Group 1, had "canceled" its plans to participate in exercises with the Australian Navy in the Indian Ocean just so it could steam up to North Korea.

The most recent sign of North Korean defiance was a failed missile launch from its submarine base in Sinpo, as reported by the New York Times on Saturday.

China has sought to enlist Russia's help to cool tensions over North Korea amid fears among Beijing's leaders that hostilities between the United States and Pyongyang are imminent. "I have great confidence that China will properly deal with North Korea", Trump tweeted on Thursday. "We've been very encouraged with the direction in which they're going". After its arrival, the USS Carl Vinson and its strike group will join the South Korean Navy in a maritime drill created to counter the recent provocations from the North. Yu Joonhee, Arirang News. The April 5 signal was no doubt received, but on April 16, there was no carrier group around to receive the signal, alas.

"The forward deployment is deterrence, presence".

He did not point out that the Carl Vinson was not, in fact, steaming into the area and would not be for 14 more days.

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