That 'Armada' Heading To North Korea? Actually, It Sailed South

A senior administration official blamed a miscommunication between the Pentagon and the White House over reports that the aircraft carrier has not made its way to the Sea of Japan as an expected show of force to North Korea.

On Tuesday, the New York Times reported that while Trump and Spicer were touting the strike group's new mission to North Korea, "the Carl Vinson [and] the four other warships in its strike force were at that very moment sailing in the opposite direction, to take part in joint exercises with the Australian Navy in the Indian Ocean, 3,500 miles southwest of the Korean Peninsula".

On April 8th, the commander of the U.S. Pacific Command, Admiral Harry Harris, ordered the Vinson's strike group, which consists of the guided missile cruiser USS Lake Champlain and the guided missile destroyers USS Michael P. Murphy and USS Wayne E. Meyer, to cancel scheduled port visits in Australia and instead operate in the "western Pacific " which includes Korea.

News organizations around the world, including NPR, covered the statements by Trump and other officials in Washington about the Carl Vinson's deployment as though the ships were bearing down on North Korea.

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

That contrasts sharply with the belief that the group was heading directly to waters off Korea amid fears Pyongyang could conduct a nuclear test as early as this past Saturday to mark the birthday of national founder Kim Il-sung, grandfather of current leader Kim Jong-un. News reports said Japan was planning to deploy its own destroyers to form up with the Carl Vinson and its USA escorts, the destroyers USS Wayne E. Meyer and Michael Murphy and the cruiser USS Lake Champlain.

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Tuesday's news add another wrinkle to an increasingly tense standoff between North Korea and the US over the former's missile testing.

The saga of the wayward carrier might never have come to light, had the Navy not posted a photograph on Monday of the Carl Vinson sailing through the Sunda Strait, which separates the Indonesian islands of Java and Sumatra.

You'll immediately notice that Indonesia is nowhere near North Korea, and also that the ship was announced as having left Singapore en route to North Korea, and actually sailed in the opposite direction.

After the Navy's image of the ships spread across the internet, the narrative changed.

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