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Trump’s ‘armada’ now heading for North Korea after initially going the wrong way
Published : Friday, 21 April, 2017 at 12:00 AM, Count : 50
WASHINGTON, Apr 20 : Four United States warships are now heading towards North Korea, after a weekend stopover in Australia, US defence officials have said.
Donald Trump caused confusion by erroneously claiming the 'armada' was on its way to North Korea last week, when in fact the ships had been spotted steaming in the opposite direction to take part in military exercises with the Australian Navy over 3,500 miles away.
But US Defence Secretary James Mattis said the USS Carl Vinson strike group was now proceeding towards the Western Pacific, to go on stand-by in the Sea of Japan.
Seeking to clear up confusion on Wednesday, the Pentagon chief said he wanted "to be open about what we're doing". Speaking in Saudi Arabia, Mattis said: "We're doing exactly what we said we're going to do. She will be on her way.
"And I'll determine when she gets there and where she actually operates - but the Vinson is going to be part of our ensuring that we stand by our allies in the north-west Pacific." The confusion began on 9 April when the US Navy said the Carl Vinson strike group was travelling from Singapore to the Western Pacific.
Two days later, the President told Fox Business he was sending an armada towards the peninsula in a "show of force". "We are sending an armada. Very powerful. We have submarines. Very powerful, far more powerful than the aircraft carrier, that I can tell you," Trump told the television station.
White House press Secretary Sean Spicer explained that having the flotilla in the Sea of Japan within striking distance of Pyongyang gave President Trump "options in the region."
At the time, the comments from the US government heightened tensions with Pyongyang, with North Korea's state news agency describing the supposed deployment as "nothing but a reckless action of aggression to aggravate the tensions in the region".    THE INDEPENDENT











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