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Trump's Korean armada stays near Australia

21 April 2017

Vice President Mike Pence said on an Asian tour this week the era of "strategic patience" with North Korea was over. Multiple US defense officials told CNN that Mattis had inadvertently misspoke and that it was a port visit in Australia that was canceled to allow for the group's redeployment to the waters near the Korean Peninsula. A few days later, President Donald Trump said they were sending a very powerful navy to the area, in response to what his government considers a nuclear threat by North Korea.

"The President said that we have an armada going towards the peninsula", White House spokesman Sean Spicer said.

Defense Secretary James Mattis on Wednesday blamed confusion over a US aircraft carrier and its strike group that officials suggested had been sent to the Korean Peninsula on an effort to be transparent.

"We have said again and again all parties need to work together to de-escalate the tension instead of being provocative because provocation can not achieve the goals", stressed Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Lu Kang during a press conference on Wednesday.

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Aircraft carrier Carl Vinson is now in the Indian Ocean whereas Washington had said it was on its way to the Korean peninsula.

But the "armada", headed by the supercarrier USS Carl Vinson, was in fact steaming the other way to take part in military exercises with the Australian Navy in the Indian Ocean.

"They send mixed signals all the time", he said.

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 global concern that the USA is about to attack. That's a fact. It happened.

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"The Carl Vinson Strike Group is heading north to the Western Pacific as a prudent measure". Secretary James Mattis said the Carl Vinson was "on her way up there" on On April 10. "That's what happened, that is happening, rather".

That plan was thrown into doubt when photos taken last weekend showed it operating almost 3,500 miles away, off Indonesia.

Tensions further escalated in the runup to April 15, the 105th anniversary of the birth of North Korea's founder, Kim Il Sung. The trip to the Indian Ocean, according to the US 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.

But now it appears the strike group is headed to Korean waters, with intent to stay for some time.

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