Q: The President in his tweet noted that China could certainly help on the North Korean issue. And when you unpack it through that lens and the fact that the USS Carl Vinson is sort of steaming out toward the Sea of Japan, that may be an additional pressure to maybe get China to come to the table. … Putting that strike carrier group in the Sea of Japan, in that region, is that also a messaging circumstance? Or is that simply protective for our allies in Japan and Korea?SPICER: A carrier group is several things. The forward deployment is deterrence, presence. It’s prudent. But it does a lot of things. It ensures our — we have the strategic capabilities, and it gives the president options in the region. But I think when you see a carrier group steaming into an area like that, the forward presence of that is clearly, through almost every instance, a huge deterrence. So I think it serves multiple capabilities.
Q: Mr. Secretary, if I can ask you about North Korea, the Vinson strike group has now been redirected towards the Sea of Japan in the coming weeks. General Brooks is no longer coming to testimony later this month. Has tension ratcheted up just recently in the past few days and can you explain why, what has changed just in the past couple of days or week?…MATTIS: As far as the movement of the Vinson, she's stationed there in the western Pacific for a reason. She operates freely up and down the Pacific, and she's just on her way up there because that's where we thought it was most prudent to have her at this time. There's not a specific demand signal or specific reason why we're sending her up there.
BARTIROMO: You redirected navy ships to go toward the Korean Peninsula. What are we doing right now in terms of North Korea?…TRUMP: We are sending an armada, very powerful. We have submarines, very powerful, far more powerful than the aircraft carrier. That I can tell you.
VAN SUSTEREN: The USS Carl Vinson is steaming its way towards the coast of DPRK, North Korea. Kim Jong Un has provocative words, which he has done before but they have had five nuclear tests and they've had multiple missile tests recently. What's the endgame on this? Are we just waiting for Saturday to see if Kim Jong Un does something, has another missile launch on the birth date of Kim Il Sung, his grandfather? Or what's the program?SPICER: I think we need to get the world community in agreement, particularly China. I mean, we've had very productive talks with both Japan and South Korea. But China can play a very important role and something the president discussed with President Xi last week, Thursday and Friday, about, again, this is almost like Russia with ISIS. But we have a shared interest with China of making sure that we don't have a nuclear North Korea.
Q: Japanese media is reporting that the USS Carl Vinson is in operations with the Japanese naval forces. As you know, they have a (inaudible). What happens if there is a confrontation this week between North Korean forces and Japanese and U.S. forces? And how will you prevent this from spiraling into a broader military conflict?SENIOR ADMINISTRATION OFFICIAL: Well, as you heard from the president many times, we're not in the business of trying to predict with a high degree of certainty precisely what our response is going to be. I think what we demonstrated last week was the ability of the President's national security team to come together, convened by the National Security Council, to look at events such as those that might occur on the Korean Peninsula, quickly analyze those events, place them in context with U.S. vital interests, establish objectives that protect American citizens and advance our interests, and then develop and present the president with options.
Q (THROUGH TRANSLATOR): The Korean Peninsula: The Americans have sent a whole naval company. Did you talk about that in your negotiations and the danger to the particular region? And does mean that the U.S. has some plans for a military campaign around the Korean Peninsula? Thank you.TILLERSON: The Carl Vinson Strike Group is routinely in the Pacific Ocean — it's in the Pacific theater. And its movements in the Pacific are made in a way that's planned by the military planners. There is no particular objective in its current course. The Vinson sails up and down the Pacific routinely, and so I would not read anything into the Carl Vinson's current locations.