The U.S. administration is defending its stance over the confusion about the whereabouts of the USS Carl Vinson aircraft carrier.
U.S. Defense Secretary James Mattis, who is visiting Saudi Arabia, told reporters on Wednesday that the U.S. is doing what it said it would do, adding that the Carl Vinson is on its way and is going to be part of Washington’s commitment that it stands by its allies in the Northwest Pacific.
Earlier on April eighth, the U.S. Pacific Command announced that the Vinson will change initial plans to travel from Singapore to Australia and instead head toward the Western Pacific Ocean near the Korean Peninsula.
The announcement led to speculation that Washington is seeking to strongly respond to North Korea’s threats of conducting another nuclear test, raising tensions on the Korean Peninsula.
It was, however, later confirmed that the aircraft carrier had traveled to its initial destination of Australia and took part in a joint exercise.
White House press secretary Sean Spicer said that government officials had never said that the Vinson was heading toward the Korean Peninsula. He simply said that the U.S. has “an armada going toward the peninsula and that that's a fact.”
CNN said Friday that U.S. President Donald Trump hinted that the U.S. was sending the aircraft carrier to the Korean Peninsula in an April 12th interview with Fox Business Channel. In an article titled "Sean Spicer's explanation on the Carl Vinson makes no sense," CNN cited Trump as saying North Korea's testing of missiles would not go without a response from the US and that the U.S. was sending a very powerful armada.