U.S. President Donald Trump was making the point he's ready to defend allies from North Korea when he said he's sent a Navy strike group to the region, Vice President Mike Pence said Wednesday, following revelations the ships were actually heading in the opposite direction at the time.
The misunderstanding was issued by the US Navy's 3rd Fleet which issued a press release on April 9 indicating that Commander Harry B. Harris Jr. ordered the aircraft carrier to leave Singapore for sea navigation in the Pacific According to the report of the American daily.
The US Navy "armada" said to be heading towards the Korean peninsula to deter nuclear testing was actually carrying out exercises in the Indian Ocean thousands of kilometres away. "Afterwards, it changed course for unknown reasons, and that created confusion because the USA didn't say anything about it". 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.
"We don't generally give out ships' schedules in advance, but I didn't want to play a game either and say we were not changing a schedule when in fact we had", he said.
Turns out the United States didn't have a strike carrier group near the Korean Peninsula in recent days amid tensions with North Korea.
"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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North Korea staged a massive military parade on Saturday and observers widely expected the country to conduct a sixth nuclear test to coincide with celebrations marking the birthdate of regime founder Kim Il-Sung.
"At a time of emergency, disinformation could be used as a tactic, but if the USA president spreads disinformation in peacetime like now, it would hurt the credibility of the US", he said.
Spicer said "the statement that was put out was that the Carl Vinson Group was headed to the Korean Peninsula".
The location of the flotilla was revealed by the US Navy itself, which posted a photo online of the aircraft carrier passing through the Sundra Strait between Sumatra and Java in Indonesia.
White House officials said Thursday they were relying on guidance from the Defense Department. "And the Carl Vinson and that battle group are being deployed to the sea of Japan and will likely arrive here in the coming weeks".
"We said that it was heading there, and it was heading there, it is heading there".