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US Carrier Still Thousands of Miles from Korean Waters

US Carrier Still Thousands of Miles from Korean Waters

The Carl Vinson is now on a northerly course for the Korean Peninsula and is expected to arrive in the region sometime next week, Defence Department officials said.

However, it was all a misunderstanding as neither the USS Carl Vinson nor any strike group was headed there yet.

More than a week after reports first emerged that the aircraft carrier and its accompanying ships were headed toward the peninsula amid fears North Korea may conduct another nuclear test, Navy photos from Saturday show Vinson operating almost 3,500 miles away, off Indonesia.

China is urging a return to negotiations over North Korea's pursuit of nuclear weapons after Vice President Mike Pence warned that the USA has lost its patience with the regime. At maximum speed of about 35 miles per hour, it would take the Vinson nearly four days to cover that distance.

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Submarines also regularly provide undersea cover for carrier strike groups.

US President Donald Trump talked up the military moves last Wednesday saying: "We are sending an armada".

"She's stationed there in the western Pacific for a reason", Mattis told reporters at the Pentagon. In fairness, neither Trump nor the Navy said when the Carl Vinson was going to head north, so technically no one lied here. It's prudent. But it does a lot of things. So I think it serves multiple capabilities'.

However, when the announcement was made, the naval strike group was still headed towards Australia, where it was scheduled to take part in joint military exercises, 5600km away.

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The Prime Minister of Japan, Shinzo Abe, has called on North Korea to refrain from further provocative action, comply with United Nations Security Council resolutions and give up its programme of acquiring missiles capable of delivering nuclear warheads.

Trump has ordered the strike group to sail near the Korean peninsula as a show of force aimed at deterring North Korea from conducting more missiles tests. The carrier and its companions could still make their way back to the Korean Peninsula, which they last visited in March, but USA defense officials generally decline to describe the deployments of American military units before the fact.

Vice President Mike Pence says the USA commitment to South Korea is "iron-clad and immutable" in the face of North Korea's work to advance its nuclear and ballistic missile program.

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