US 'armada' is headed towards Australia

U.S. President Donald Trump said last week that he had ordered the strike group to head for Korean waters amid talk that unpredictable North Korea was likely to conduct a nuclear or long-range ballistic missile test.

The mixed messaging is being viewed by some as undermining the United States' credible threat of military force against North Korea.

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".

The deployment of the strike group to waters off the Korean peninsula created headlines around the world after US President Donald Trump said his administration was committed to solving the problem of Pyongyang's weapons programme, alone if necessary.

China and Russian Federation dispatched spy vessels to follow a USA naval group that was sent to North Korea, the Independent reported on Monday.

U.S. Defense Secretary James Mattis (L) departs after meeting with Saudi Arabia's Deputy Crown Prince and Defense Minister Mohammed bin Salman (R) at the Ministry of Defense in Riyadh, April 19, 2017.

The reports come after military forces in South Korea and the U.S. announced on Sunday that they had recorded a failed test launch of a ballistic missile from Pyongyang. White House officials are still wondering how this mishap happened.

Thus far, reports on Vinson's impending arrival in waters near South Korea have come from White House and other Washington officials.

"The Vinson, as I said on the record, was operating up and down the western Pacific, and we were doing exactly what we said, and that is we are shifting her", he said.

Our "very powerful" armada will make its way to the Korean Peninsula eventually, but apparently no one's in any rush.

South Korea's Yonhap news agency also reported that the strike group had wrapped up joint exercises with Australia in recent days and was sailing to the peninsula.

"We are keeping a fully prepared position against North Korea to deter any provocations, given that many political events are taking place (in April)", he said, referencing North Korea's annual Day of the Sun celebrations.

The redirection had sparked fears about a preemptive U.S. strike should North Korea conduct a nuclear weapons test.

Vice President Mike Pence, who called the latest missile test a "provocation", is now in South Korea to meet with US and South Korean military.

On Wednesday, Pence said Trump was not intentionally misleading.

It was supposed to be steaming towards North Korea more than a week ago, an "armada" signaling American resolve.

  • Annette Adams