USA aircraft carrier to reach waters near NKorea next week

The Trump administration's carrot-and-stick approach toward North Korea, peppered with bellicose rhetoric and suggestive military moves, may eventually prove effective in altering leader Kim Jong-un's calculations.

Now, it seems the USS Carl Vinson may finally be heading north.

The strike group has been conducting drills with the Australian navy in recent days, the USA official said, though it scrapped a planned port visit in Australia as a result of the new orders.

The group consisted of aircraft carrier USS Carl Vinson, weighing 97,000 tons with 60 aircraft, as well as two guided-missile destroyers and a guided-missile cruiser.

On Wednesday, the US Navy posted photos to its website of the USS Carl Vinson in a location in the South China Sea, on what it describes as a "regularly scheduled Western Pacific deployment".

The idea that the Vinson was headed immediately to the Korean Peninsula had both reassured South Korea and Japan, which were wary of potential North Korean provocations, and increased concern that Trump could respond to those actions with military force.

Defense Secretary Jim Mattis, on a visit to Saudi Arabia, told reporters, "The Vinson, as I've said on the record, was operating up and down the western Pacific".

Spicer also denied that Trump misspoke when he talked about the ships.

North Korea did not refer to the mix-up but said the United States and its allies "should not mess with us".

The headline in China's Global Times read 'Tricked Badly, ' while the Korea Times in Seoul bluntly declared 'US lied about carrier strike group'.

The US military's Pacific Command explained on Tuesday that the Carl Vinson strike group first had to complete a shorter-than-initially planned period of training with Australia. And we're doing exactly what we said. That is, we were shifting her. "Very powerful", were the words of President Donald Trump, and other officials made it sound like the ships were plowing toward the region. "We will continue to be the centrepiece of visible maritime deterrence, providing our national command authority with flexible deterrent options, all domain access, and a visible forward presence".

"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".

Beijing, long considered North Korea's last remaining ally, has stepped up its criticism of Pyongyang.

On Sunday, North Korea attempted to test a ballistic missile, but it exploded seconds after launch.