US Carrier Strike Group Now Actually Heading to North Korea, Officials Say

Officials Downplay Detour, Promise Group Will Stay Around Korea for Awhile

The USS Carl Vinson and its carrier strike group are finally heading to North Korea, according to US officials who are struggling to explain why, having announced the deployment weeks ago, the ships never ended up anywhere near the Korean Peninsula.

Officials announced the deployment about two weeks ago, with President Trump hyping the deployment of the “armada” to North Korea, suggesting that the deployment was a major show of force, and fueling international concern that the US is about to attack.

Instead, the ships left Singapore and ended up moving a little bit south. Now, Defense Secretary James Mattis insists the US is going to send the strike group to North Korea, and that they definitely mean it this time. Mattis conceded that there was a change in schedule, but insisted that the Pentagon “don’t generally give out ships’ schedules.”

South Korean media outlets were pretty cynical about the whole thing, saying that the Chinese and Russian presidents probably had a good laugh over Trump’s “lie over the Carl Vinson,” expressing concern that the US is increasing tensions, but bluffing about sending forces into the area.

South Koreans also didn’t seem thrilled with President Trump telling the Wall Street Journal that Korea “used to be part of China.” Though China has at times in its history conquered parts of the peninsula, they never fully occupied Korea, let alone annexed it into China.

If and when the “armada” finally arrives, it’s going to be staying awhile, with officials saying the planned deployment has been extended for 30 more days to prove the US military comment to the northwestern Pacific.

Author: Jason Ditz

Jason Ditz is Senior Editor for He has 20 years of experience in foreign policy research and his work has appeared in The American Conservative, Responsible Statecraft, Forbes, Toronto Star, Minneapolis Star-Tribune, Providence Journal, Washington Times, and the Detroit Free Press.