Allies silent, jibes in China over U.S. carrier mix-up

The confusion began on 9 April when the US Navy said the Carl Vinson strike group was travelling from Singapore to the Western Pacific.

Donald Trump's deputy is in the region to reassure allies fretting over Pyongyang's quickening missile programme, and its apparent readiness to carry out another banned nuclear test in its quest to develop an atomic weapon that can hit the United States mainland.

Speaking to Fox News, the U.S. president said of the aircraft carrier's re-routing: "We are sending an armada, very powerful". The trip to the Indian Ocean, according to the USA military's Pacific Command, was merely the first stop for the carrier, which on Tuesday was "proceeding to the Western Pacific as ordered" after completing training with Australia, The Washington Post reported.

The Vinson is accompanied by a destroyer ship with an Aegis combat system to track and intercept missiles.

President Donald Trump last week said he had sent "an armada - very powerful" to North Korea to send a message about American resolve and intent.

So according to Spicer, because the ultimate destination of the Carl Vinson is, in fact, the Korean Peninsula, it didn't matter that the White House did not clarify that the aircraft carrier would not arrive there until later on in the month.

National Security Advisor H.R. McMaster said it was a "prudent" decision to send the ships to waters off the Korean Peninsula to deter the North. "The statement that was put out was that the Carl Vinson Group was headed to the Korean Peninsula".

After the news spread, U.S. Pacific Command said the Vinson had participated in a previously scheduled training exercise off the northwest coast of Australia and was now headed to the western Pacific as previously ordered.

The paper likened the aircraft carrier to a "gross animal" and said a strike on it would be "an actual example to show our military's force".

The US Navy said on April 8 that the strike group was travelling to the Korean peninsula amid tensions over Pyongyang's nuclear ambitions.

Vice President Mike Pence said that he does not believe the Defense Department intentionally misled the public about the whereabouts of a strike group in the Pacific Ocean. However, at the time various administration officials touted its movement, including President Donald Trump, it was going in the exact opposite direction - towards Australia. "W$3 e're doing exactly what we said, and that is, we're shifting her". He has vowed to prevent the North from being able to hit the USA with a nuclear missile and has said "all options are on the table" - including a military strike.

But some questioned why the timeline was not corrected earlier given the tensions involving nuclear-armed North Korea.

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