THE declaration last week that the US had sent an aircraft carrier barrelling towards waters off the Korean Peninsula put tensions with North Korea at boiling point. Except, that never happened.
A series of glitches meant that the USS Carl Vinson and four other warships were actually sailing in the opposite direction when officials announced it was surging towards the West Pacific, The New York Times has revealed.
In fact, a defence official told AFP that the armada was still in waters off the northwest coast of Australia and would “start heading north towards the Sea of Japan within the next 24 hours”.
The ships are not expected to reach their destination until next week.
The US Navy announced on April 8 that the armada had been ordered north as a “prudent measure” to deter North Korean military aggression.
However, when the announcement was made, the naval strike group was in fact still headed towards Australia, where it was scheduled to take part in joint military exercises, 5600km away.
White House officials told the Times that the military’s Pacific Command made the announcement prematurely, and the mistake was repeated later by defence secretary Jim Mattis.
US President Donald Trump talked up the military moves last Wednesday saying: “We are sending an armada. Very powerful.”
The story unravelled when the US Navy released a photograph showing the Carl Vinson in the Sunda Strait, between the Indonesian islands of Java and Sumatra, on April 15, the same day Kim Jong-un was making a show of his military arsenal in the streets of Pyongyang.SOURCE: newsnow worldnews