As worries deepened last week about whether North Korea would conduct a missile test, the White House declared that ordering a USA aircraft carrier into the Sea of Japan would send a powerful deterrent signal and give President Donald Trump more options in responding to the North's provocative behaviour. Though the White House directed any comments on the matter to the Pentagon, the reporters note that they were told that officials were puzzled about why the Pentagon had not corrected the timeline of events in light of the incorrect comments coming from the White House.
That's odd because the Department of Defense and the White House said the Carl Vinson was heading for the Sea of Japan where presumably it would scare the maniacs in North Korea.
Instead, on Saturday, the strike group was about 3,500 miles away from Korea, passing through the Sunda Strait between the Indonesian islands of Sumatra and Java, according to Defense News. The Reagan is evidently undergoing maintenance at a base near Tokyo, and the Nimitz is floating around Southern California - a far cry from showing up to face down Pyongyang's saber-rattling in the Sea of Japan or the Yellow Sea.
At the time of the strike group's deployment, many media outlets said the ships were steaming toward North Korea, when in fact they had temporarily headed in the opposite direction.
And White House press secretary Sean Spicer played along - either in the dark or as part of a ruse.
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. It ensures our - we have the strategic capabilities, and it gives the president options in the region, ' he said.
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News that the US hadn't followed through on its threat to North Korea was greeted in Chinese media with raucous laughter on Tuesday, according to The Washington Post.
The aircraft carrier debacle brings up an interesting question.
That must have kept the loony North Koreans off balance.
Other top USA officials have warned that a potential military option is still on the table when it comes to North Korea.
The strike group has been conducting drills with the Australian navy in recent days, the official said.