Published: Fri, April 21, 2017
World | By Paul Elliott

Allies silent over 'show of force' by USA carrier

Vice President Mike Pence said on an Asian tour this week the era of "strategic patience" with North Korea was over. 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.

"The president said we have an armada that's going toward the peninsula", Spicer said.

On April 11, the US Navy said it would take at least a week for the strike group to arrive at the desired location.

Actually, a fleet of USA warships - an aircraft carrier accompanied by two destroyers and a cruiser - had been deployed, but in the opposite direction from 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.

"I think we were asked very clearly about the use of a carrier group in terms of deterrence and foreign presence and what that meant, and we were - that's what we discussed".

Mere days after the announcement about the strike group's new course, President Donald Trump weighed in on the North Korean threat. "That's a fact. It happened - it is happening, rather".

"They are going to start heading north toward the (Eastern Sea) within the next 24 hours", an unidentified U.S. defense official told AFP.

That led everybody to believe that the group would be heading directly to Korea from Singapore and could have been on standby in waters near Korea around Saturday last week when Pyongyang could conduct a nuclear test to mark the birthday of national founder Kim Il-sung, grandfather of current leader Kim Jong-un.

Officials announced the deployment about two weeks ago, with President Trump hyping the deployment of the "armada" to North Korea, suggesting that the deployment was a major show of force, and fueling worldwide concern that the U.S. is about to attack.

Defense Secretary James Mattis told reporters Wednesday in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, that the aircraft carrier's schedule was changed.

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.

"The statement that was put out was that the U.S.S. Carl Vinson carrier group was headed to the Korean Peninsula", said Spicer.

Earlier Wednesday, Trump signed into law the Veterans Choice Program Improvement Act, which expands health care access and allows veterans to stay with their doctor.

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