Vinson carrier group expected off Korea in late April
The U.S. military initially said in a statement dated April 10 that Admiral Harry Harris, the commander of Pacific Command, directed the Carl Vinson strike group "to sail north and report on station in the Western Pacific".
This sort of humiliating bungle seems to be in line with a White House that's proven itself to be reliably error-prone - but a miscommunication of this magnitude is deeply worrying and unprecedented.
Submarines also regularly provide undersea cover for carrier strike groups.
Rep. Ruben Gallego (D-Ariz.) on Tuesday taunted President Trump over reports a USA aircraft carrier was not at a location previously announced by the White House.
The strike group includes Arleigh Burke-class guided-missile destroyers USS Wayne E. Meyer and USS Michael Murphy, embarked Carrier Air Wing 2 and Ticonderoga-class guided-missile cruiser USS Lake Champlain, according to the U.S. Navy.
Thus far, reports on Vinson's impending arrival in waters near South Korea have come from White House and other Washington officials. Off the record, several officials expressed wonderment at the persistent reports that the Vinson was already nearing Korea.
Officials did, however, flatly deny reports that three US carrier strike groups were being directed to mass off the Korean peninsula in a few weeks.
On April 11, Trump stoked the fears of military action with an early-morning Twitter post: "North Korea is looking for trouble".
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Heightened tensions on the Korean Peninsula underscore the need for an increased military presence there and worldwide, according to the chairman of the House Armed Services Committee. A spokesman for the Pacific Command linked the deployment directly to the "number one threat in the region", North Korea, and its "reckless, irresponsible and destabilizing program of missile tests and pursuit of a nuclear weapons capability".
The trip so far has been dominated by USA and allies' concerns about North Korea's nuclear and missile development efforts.
"We seek peace always as a country, as does Japan, but as you know and the United States knows, peace comes through strength", said Pence, "and we will stand strongly with Japan and strongly with our allies for a peace and security in this region". "There's not a specific demand signal or specific reason why we're sending her up there".
After the US military dropped the so-called "mother of all bombs" on Islamic State fighters in Afghanistan last Thursday, media reports hinted that the strike was a message to North Korea.
A string of previous photos running from April 9 - 13 insisted that the Vinson was somewhere in the South China Sea.
That was when tensions peaked over the possibility of North Korea's nuclear or missile test on the occasion of the birthday of national founder Kim Il-sung.
The Koreans did try to test a missile, but it exploded seconds after launch.
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