USS Carl Vinson Deployment Near North Korea Extended

U.S. Pacific Command's statement created some ambiguity, as it named North Korea but did not specifically say it deployed the ships to waters off North Korea. This contradicts earlier announcements by US authorities that the supercarrier strike group was heading towards the Korean Peninsula amid possibilities of North Korean provocations.

The U.S.is trying to ratchet up pressure on North Korea to abandon its nuclear weapons and ballistic missile programs.

Following the launch, Vice President Mike Pence said Trump would take a more aggressive stance against Pyongyang than previous administrations.

News organizations around the world, including NPR, covered the statements by Trump and other officials in Washington about the Carl Vinson's deployment as though the ships were bearing down on North Korea.

According to Defense Department officials, the Carl Vinson is now on its way to the Korean Peninsula and is expected to arrive next week. He declined to comment on whether or not US sabotage was behind the failure of North Korea's latest missile test.

On April 15, the Navy posted a photograph to Flickr with a description that said the USS Carl Vinson was heading through the Sunda Strait, putting it several hundred miles south of Singapore, around 3,500 miles from the Korean Peninsula.

When asked to explain what led people in the Trump administration to believe the vessel was thousands of miles away from its actual location, White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer said the U.S. Pacific Command (PACOM) "put out a release talking about the group ultimately ending up in the Korean Peninsula".

Instead of heading straight towards the Korean peninsula the strike group headed the opposite direction.

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"We seek peace always as a country, as does Japan, but as you know and the United States knows, peace comes through strength", said Pence, "and we will stand strongly with Japan and strongly with our allies for a peace and security in this region".

"We generally don't give out ship schedules in advance but I did not want to play a game either and say we were not changing the schedule when in fact we have", he said.

Pentagon chief Jim Mattis on 11 April said the Vinson was "on her way up" to the peninsula.

The Nimitz-class aircraft carrier USS Carl Vinson (CVN 70), right is moored pierside in Singapore, April 4, 2017.

"We are sending an armada, very powerful", Trump told Fox Business News, warning that Kim Jong Un "is doing the wrong thing".

"North Korea is the most risky and urgent threat to peace and security in the Asia-Pacific", Mr Pence 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".

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