US Naval Armada in Sea of Japan in Days amid North Korea Tension
The US supercarrier Carl Vinson will arrive in the Sea of Japan in days, Vice President Mike Pence said in Australia Saturday amid high tensions with North Korea.
“Our expectation is that they will be in the Sea of Japan in position in a matter of days, before the end of this month,” Pence told reporters in Sydney.
“(What) the regime in North Korea should make no mistake about, is that the United States has the resources, the personnel and the presence in this region of the world to see to our interests and to see to the security of those interests and our allies,” Pence said.
The Trump administration has been trying to clear the waters after sending out confusing messages concerning the whereabouts of the Vinson carrier group that supposedly was steaming toward North Korea last week.
Tensions between the US and North Korea have soared in recent weeks following a drumbeat of missile tests and fears that Pyongyang may be readying a sixth nuclear test.
The US Navy on April 8 said it was directing a naval strike group headed by the USS Carl Vinson aircraft carrier to “sail north” from waters off Singapore, as a “prudent measure” to deter the regime.
“We are sending an armada. Very powerful,” said President Donald Trump as other officials made it sound like the ships were steaming toward the region.
Pentagon chief Jim Mattis said the Vinson was “on her way up”.
But the Navy admitted Tuesday the ships were in fact sent in the opposite direction — away from Singapore and toward Australia to conduct drills with the Australian navy.
Pence warned Wednesday that the United States would counter any North Korean attack with an “overwhelming and effective” response.
His comments came a senior North Korean official warned the regime had no intention of scaling down its missile program, pledging weekly tests and threatening “all-out war” if the US took any action against it.
Trump’s deputy visited South Korea and Japan before Australia to reassure allies fretting over Pyongyang’s quickening missile program.
During his visit to Australia on Saturday Pence said Washington would honor a controversial refugee deal with Australia, under which the United States would resettle 1,250 asylum seekers, a deal Trump had described as “dumb”.
Pence told a joint news conference with Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull in Sydney that the deal would be subject to vetting, and that honoring it “doesn’t mean that we admire the agreement”.
“We will honor this agreement out of respect to this enormously important alliance,” Pence said at Turnbull’s
harborside official residence.