The USS Carl Vinson is still nowhere near North Korea

Team Trump declared last week that it was sending North Korea a tough message when the United States diverted an aircraft carrier strike force toward the Korean Peninsula - but the ships were actually thousands of miles away and heading in the opposite direction.

"The president said that we have an armada going to the peninsula", Spicer said, referring to a April 12 Fox Business interview where President Trump said, "We are sending an armada". "That's a fact, it happened".

During a White House press briefing last week, Sean Spicer, when asked about the decision to send the strike force to North Korea, claimed the move to be a deterrent.

On April 8, the Pacific Command announced the Carl Vinson Strike Group had been directed "to sail north and report on station in the Western Pacific Ocean".

The expected arrival of the ships flashed across front pages in East Asia, where many were concerned of a preemptive US military strike on North Korea, the New York Times reported.

But at that very moment, the aircraft carrier was in fact moving through the Sunda Strait between the islands of Indonesia and on into the Indian Ocean where it was due to take part in a training exercise with the Australian Navy, Reuters reported.

A Trump administration official said Washington was concerned about the possibility of some kind of North Korean provocation around the time of the South Korean election on May 9.

That means it was even farther away from the Korean Peninsula when North Korean leader Kim Jong-un conducted his failed missile test over the weekend.

More news: NewsAlert: Strident Trump targets Canadian trade on energy, lumber, dairy

He said the U.S. was "working closely" with China to engage North Korea.

Pentagon chief Jim Mattis on 11 April said the Vinson was "on her way up" to the peninsula.

"They are going to start heading north towards the Sea of Japan within next 24 hours", the official said on condition of anonymity.

Citing multiple defense officials, CNN reported that the strike group will arrive in the waters off the Korean Peninsula by the end of April.

"The aircraft carrier was sleep-walking", joked another.

Mr Pence said the threat from the isolated regime was growing.

USA media outlets have attributed the muddle to miscommunications between the White House and the Pentagon, which failed to brief the White House accurately.

"We will continue to be the centerpiece of visible maritime deterrence, providing our national command authority with flexible deterrent options, all domain access, and a visible forward presence".

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