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US war fleet still thousands of kilometres from North Korea

A strike group headed by the aircraft carrier the USS Carl Vinson is still thousands of kilometres from the Korean peninsula and has yet to head north, according to the latest photographs issued by the US Navy, dampening speculation in the world's media that a US military strike might be imminent against North Korea's nuclear programme.

An image from the US military dated on Saturday show the carrier on a "scheduled deployment" at the Sunda Strait in Indonesia, several hundred kilometres south of Singapore.

The vessel left the city-state on April 8.

The deployment of the strike group to waters off the Korean peninsula created headlines around the world after US President Donald Trump said his administration was committed to solving the problem of Pyongyang's weapons programme, alone if necessary.

The latest known location of the USS Carl Vinson was earlier reported by the US military news outlet Defense News.

Trump has ordered the strike group to sail near the Korean peninsula as a show of force aimed at deterring North Korea from conducting more missiles tests.

The vessels were, however, operating about 5,600 km from the peninsula, according to Defence News.

The report added that the carrier was taking part in scheduled exercises with Australian forces in the Indian Ocean.

The article also dismissed speculation that the strikes groups for the carriers USS Ronald Reagan and Nimitz could join with the USS Vinson.

The USS Reagan is undergoing maintenance in Japan, scheduled for complete in May.

The US-based Nimitz and her strike group is off southern California and is scheduled to deploy this spring to relieve the USS Vinson in the western Pacific, the report added.

Beijing-based naval expert Li Jie said the Pentagon's lack of clarity about the deployment of the USS Carl Vinson strike group was adding to tensions on the Korean peninsula.

"Obviously, it's an intimidatory tactic adopted by the Trump administration to push Kim Jong-un to yield to Washington's carrier threats," Li said.

"Such a tactic is very like Trump's style, but I don't think it's a good way to handle the nuclear crisis on the Korean peninsula because Kim will not compromise with threats. He wants to get some pragmatic promises from the US, China and Russia to secure his regime."

[Source: South China Morning Post, Hong Kong, 18Apr17]

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East China Sea Conflict
small logoThis document has been published on 19Apr17 by the Equipo Nizkor and Derechos Human Rights. In accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107, this material is distributed without profit to those who have expressed a prior interest in receiving the included information for research and educational purposes.