Speed Reads

all eyes on north korea

U.S. Navy officials seem baffled by reports that Trump sent an aircraft carrier strike group to North Korea

On April 8, with tensions rising on the Korean peninsula, Adm. Harry Harris, commander of U.S. Pacific Command, ordered the aircraft carrier USS Carl Vinson and its support ships to head toward Korea, in what was widely seen as a show of force and warning for North Korea. Everybody seems to have expected the Vinson strike group to actually move toward the Koreas, but as of Saturday, it was some 3,500 miles south, off the coast of Sumatra, after taking part in scheduled joint exercises with Australian forces.

U.S. Navy officials confirmed that the Vinson was nowhere near Korea, telling Defense News off the record they didn't understand why the media kept reporting the strike group was headed that way. "We've made no such statement," one official said. Among those who did suggest the U.S. is sending "an armada," including submarines, toward North Korea was President Trump. If the Vinson traveled at its maximum speed of about 35 mph, Stars and Stripes calculated, the strike group could travel from Indonesia's Sunda Strait to the Korean peninsula in four to five days. Navy officials did not dispute reports from South Korea that the Vinson strike group would arrive around April 25.