Soon after bombarding Syria and Afghanistan with missiles and a very big bomb, the USA said it had ordered its flagship aircraft carrier strike group, which was already here last month for a joint drill with the South Korean military, to head back toward the peninsula.
The ship that was coming to take on North Korea is making a stopover first.
The US military initially said in a statement dated April 10 that Admiral Harry Harris, the commander of Pacific Command, directed the Vinson strike group "to sail north and report on station in the Western Pacific". A spokesperson for U.S. Pacific Command linked the move directly to North Korea's "reckless, irresponsible and destabilizing program of missile tests and pursuit of a nuclear weapons capability".
Stars and Stripes reported Monday that the Carl Vinson strike group was actually making its way toward Australia last week for a planned port visit. That's a fact, it's happened.
Meanwhile, according to photos posted on the US Navy website, the Vinson enters the Sunda Strait off the coast of Indonesia - more than 4,000 kilometers from the Korean peninsula.
Both U.S. and South Korean media have reported that the Vinson is now expected to arrive in waters off the Korean peninsula by April 25, just as North Korea marks the anniversary of its army's founding.
Lu noted that Beijing and Washington maintained close coordination since the new U.S. administration came to the White House in January.
China has also cautioned North Korea against going for sixth nuclear test defying United States warnings.
North Korea did not conduct a nuclear test that weekend but held a massive military parade and attempted a missile test at or near its key submarine base at Sinpo.
But a week after the USA announced the carrier and its escorts would leave Singapore, forego port calls in Australia and instead return to Korean waters, the carrier and its group had yet to head north.
It is now confirmed that the aircraft carrier's crew will spend at least an extra month at sea.
"This goes to prove that the USA reckless moves for invading the DPRK have reached a serious phase of its scenario", the statement said.
"Such a tactic is very like Trump's style, but I don't think it's a good way to handle the nuclear crisis on the Korean peninsula because Kim will not compromise with threats". So although the Navy's details might have been accurate, they never specified where in the South China Sea, or in which direction the ships were sailing.
The Latest on U.S. Vice President Mike Pence's trip to Asia (all times local): --- 2:30 p.m. He says the Trump administration's plans to simplify the US tax code and cut the corporate tax rate will "benefit every business represented here today".
Ahead of a May 9 presidential election, debate heated up over a possible USA pre-emptive attack against the North, with leading candidates warning against any unilateral action.
The Vinson group includes the aircraft carrier USS Carl Vinson and its embarked air wing, the destroyers USS Wayne E. Meyer and USS Michael Murphy, and the cruiser USS Lake Champlain.
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