USA POLITICS: Exposed! Trump Team Bluster as Aircraft Carrier Steams in Opposite Direction

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By Politicoscope April 19, 2017 11:55

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USA POLITICS: Exposed! Trump Team Bluster as Aircraft Carrier Steams in Opposite Direction

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When US President Donald Trump boasted early last week that he had sent an “armada” as a warning to North Korea, the aircraft carrier strike group he spoke of was still far from the Korean peninsula, and headed in the opposite direction.

It was even farther away over the weekend, moving through the Sunda Strait and then into the Indian Ocean, as North Korea displayed what appeared to be new missiles at a parade and staged a failed missile test.

The US military’s Pacific Command explained on Tuesday that the strike group first had to complete a shorter-than-initially planned period of training with Australia. But it was now “proceeding to the Western Pacific as ordered,” it said.

The perceived communications mix-up has raised eyebrows among Korea experts, who wonder whether it erodes the Trump administration’s credibility at a time when US rhetoric about the North’s advancing nuclear and missile capabilities are raising concerns about a potential conflict.

“If you threaten them and your threat is not credible, it’s only going to undermine whatever your policy toward them is. And that could be a logical conclusion from what’s just happened,”said North Korea expert Joel Wit at the 38 North monitoring group, run by Johns Hopkins University’s School of Advanced International Studies.

The US 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.”

Reuters and other news outlets reported on April 11 that the movement would take more than a week. The Navy, for security reasons, says it does not report future operational locations of its ships.

Defense Secretary Jim Mattis initially appeared to play down the deployment on April 11, saying the Vinson was “just on her way up there because that’s where we thought it was most prudent to have her at this time.” “There’s not a specific demand signal or specific reason why we’re sending her up there,” he said.

But even Mr Mattis initially misspoke about the strike group’s itinerary, telling a news conference that the Vinson had pulled out of an exercise with Australia.

The Pentagon has since corrected the record, saying the ship’s planned port visit to Fremantle, Australia, was cancelled – not the exercise with Australia’s navy.

On April 15, the US Navy even published a photo showing the Vinson transiting the Sunda Strait. From April 16-18, the website http://www.gonavy.jp/CVLocation.html reported that the Vinson was in the Indian Ocean.

A US military official, speaking on condition of anonymity, said the Vinson carried out the exercises after passing through the Sunda Strait and wrapped them up this week.

Timeline of recent tensions

  • 8 April: The US military orders a navy strike group to move towards the Korean peninsula
  • 11 April: North Korea says it will defend itself “by powerful force of arms”
  • 15 April: North Korea puts on a huge military parade – complete with missiles – to mark 105th birthday of the nation’s founding president, Kim Il-sung. Meanwhile US Vice-President Mike Pence arrives in South Korea
  • 16 April: North Korea conducts a rocket test, but it fails
  • 17 April: Senior North Korean official tells the BBC the country will continue to test missiles “weekly” and Mr Pence warns North Korea not to “test” Donald Trump
  • 18 April: It emerges the US Navy strike group was not heading towards North Korea when US officials said it was

– Reuters


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Politicoscope
By Politicoscope April 19, 2017 11:55

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