White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer insisted Wednesday that President Donald Trump didn't mislead or misspeak when he indicated last week that an "armada" was steaming toward North Korea in a show of USA military might.
A South Korean defense official said Wednesday that the aircraft carrier will be journeying to Korea following a joint exercise with Australia.
The administration appeared to redirect the strike group soon afterward, and on Tuesday, Pacific Command said it now "is heading north to the Western Pacific as a prudent measure". The announcement came as many speculated that North Korea could be on the verge of a nuclear test, and numerous USA officials said deploying the ships was a muscular display of force.
Defense News first reported the story earlier Tuesday.
"We can not comment on details of USA operation of its assets", a military official said in Seoul, South Korea's capital.
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The US Navy said on 8 April that the Carl Vinson strike group was travelling to the Korean peninsula amid tensions over Pyongyang's nuclear ambitions.
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.
Lawrence Korb, a former USA assistant secretary of defense and a retired Navy captain, said the conflicting messages were "very typical of how the Trump administration does business".
Some news organizations cited the armada's apparent race northward as a sign of a possible pre-emptive attack on North Korea, spurring global concerns of a possible war.
"Our deployment has been extended 30 days to provide a persistent presence in the waters off the Korean peninsula", Kilby wrote Wednesday on the group's Facebook page. He added that North Korea remains the "number one threat in the region" amid "its reckless, irresponsible and destabilizing program of missile tests and pursuit of a nuclear weapons capability".
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In the past, the groups known as collectives have operated like shock troops firing on protesters as security forces stand by. This is the largest day of demonstrations in more than two weeks of violent protests that have seen more than 200 arrested.
The U.S. ships have the ability to shoot down incoming missiles and launch cruise missiles of their own.
On April 15, the US Navy published a photo showing the Vinson transiting the Sunda Strait on its way to drills with Australia, while news outlets reported on April 11 that the movement would take more than a week.
Mr Mattis said the strike group was now on its way to the Western Pacific as ordered.
This explanation will undoubtedly satisfy the many people who have given Spicer and the Trump White House the benefit of the doubt over significantly more clear-cut falsehoods and messaging failures.
"There's not a specific demand signal or specific reason we are sending her up there", Mattis said of the Vinson.
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