Published: Fri, April 21, 2017
Global Media | By Meredith Barber

Remember that US carrier strike force steaming toward North Korea? It wasn't.

Remember that US carrier strike force steaming toward North Korea? It wasn't.

However, according to the Defense Department, the strike group is now on its way to the Korean Peninsula in a show of strength and to act as a deterrent.

Officials from the White House told the Times that its information about the ship, Carl Vinson, along with four other warships, came from the Defense Department.

An aircraft carrier the US Navy said was steaming toward the Korean Peninsula amid rising tensions has not yet departed, a US defence official has acknowledged.

Over the past couple of weeks, speculation about an imminent United States attack on North Korea has centered heavily around the USS Carl Vinson's carrier strike group, which White House officials had hyped as having been sent to the Sea of Japan to send a "powerful message".

Pentagon chief Jim Mattis on April 11 said the Vinson was "on her way up" to the peninsula and President Donald Trump the next day said: "We are sending an armada".

It is thousands of nautical miles from the Java Sea to the Sea of Japan. It turns out that was all a big lie, as the aircraft carrier was never going to the Sea of Japan and was traveling 3,500 miles in the opposite direction.

'A carrier group is several things.

Secretary of Defense Jim Mattis said on April 11 that the Vinson had been called away from exercises near Australia to head for the Korean peninsula but declined to say why. It's prudent. But it does a lot of things.

"I think when you see a carrier group steaming into an area like that, the forward presence of that is clearly, through nearly every instance, a huge deterrence".

'Tricked badly!' the Global Times chirped on its social media account.

The official blamed the mixup on a lack of follow-up with commanders overseeing the movements of the Carl Vinson aircraft carrier.

The United States ratcheted up its rhetoric ahead of North Korea's military parade and failed missile launch over the weekend, and Vice President Mike Pence on Monday declared that the era of USA "strategic patience" in dealing with Pyongyang was over.

That contrasts sharply with the belief that the group was heading directly to waters off Korea amid fears Pyongyang could conduct a nuclear test as early as this past Saturday to mark the birthday of national founder Kim Il-sung, grandfather of current leader Kim Jong-un.

It has scrapped a planned port visit in Australia as a result of sailing north. The carrier and its companions could still make their way back to the Korean Peninsula, which they last visited in March, but US defense officials generally decline to describe the deployments of American military units before the fact.

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