The White House sought to fend off criticism Wednesday that President Donald Trump and other top officials have misleadingly said a Navy strike group was heading to the Korean Peninsula to deter North Korea when it was actually moving in the opposite direction.
This contradicts earlier announcements by USA authorities that the supercarrier strike group was heading towards the Korean Peninsula amid possibilities of North Korean provocations.
"That's a fact. It happened", Spicer said on Wednesday, before quickly correcting himself, "it is happening, rather".
Today the White House tried to clarify a series of confusing and possibly misleading statements about the location of a Navy aircraft carrier it initially said was headed north to the Korean Peninsula.
While the Pentagon sought to downplay those reports late last week, at no point did it or the White House suggest the Carl Vinson was not nearing the North to give Trump a more robust military option, should he decide he needs one.
Officials said a glitch-ridden sequence of events, such as an ill-timed announcement of the deployment by U.S. Pacific Command and a partially erroneous explanation by the Defense Secretary James Mattis, perpetuated a false narrative that the aircraft carrier was racing toward the waters off North Korea, The New York Times reported.
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The deployment of the Carl Vinson Strike Group will be extended for at least 30 days as the ship heads to the Korean Peninsula.
On Saturday - according to photographs released by the U.S. Navy - the carrier passed north through the Sunda Strait, the passage between the Indonesian islands of Sumatra and Java.
That must have kept the loony North Koreans off balance.
"He is doing the wrong thing", he said of North Korean leader Kim Jong-un. "If that was a lie, then during Trump's term, South Korea will not trust whatever Trump says".
"We have said again and again all parties need to work together to de-escalate the tension instead of being provocative because provocation can not achieve the goals", stressed Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Lu Kang during a press conference on Wednesday.
He said the situation on the Korean Peninsula is already very complicated and sensitive and tense, and all relevant parties who do not wish to see an escalation of tension shall speak and act in a constructive way.
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Several tweets from Trump at the time also signaled that rising tensions were leading to the USA taking action against North Korea over the country's nuclear program.
"The president said that we have an armada going towards the peninsula".
"The aircraft carrier was sleep-walking", joked another.
US media outlets have attributed the muddle to miscommunications between the White House and the Pentagon, which failed to brief the White House accurately.
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