But an image published by the Navy shows the aircraft carrier off the coast of Indonesia on Saturday, south of where the Carl Vinson Carrier Strike Group had departed, not north.
As is customary, the Navy did not say exactly where the carrier force was headed or its precise mission.
Joel Wit, a co-founder of the 38 North programme of the US-Korea Institute at Johns Hopkins University, said to AP: "If you are going to threaten the North Koreans, you better make sure your threat is credible. There's not a specific demand signal or specific reason why we're sending her up there".
"President Trump is determined to work closely with Japan, with South Korea, with all our allies in the region, and with China' to resolve the problem", the vice president added.
Officials reportedly expressed optimism that China begin to help place pressure on North Korea. If so, please tell us.
President Donald Trump said on April 12, "We are sending an armada. Very powerful, far more powerful than the aircraft carrier, that I can tell you", said Mr Trump.
"I think when you see a carrier group steaming into an area like that, the forward presence of that is clearly, through nearly every instance, a huge deterrence".
Earlier in the week, Pence warned North Korea not the test "the strength of the armed forces of the United States in this region", according to the New York Times.
The United States ratcheted up its rhetoric ahead of North Korea's military parade and failed missile launch over the weekend, and Vice President Mike Pence on Monday declared that the era of U.S. "strategic patience" in dealing with Pyongyang was over. But by then the Vinson was already in the Indian Ocean some 5,500 km away from the Korean Peninsula.
Business Insider contacted the Navy about the discrepancy, but it did not immediately comment. It broke the news that the ships were more than 5,000 kilometres from where most of the world thought it was.
The administration appeared to redirect the strike group soon afterward, and on Tuesday, Pacific Command said it now "is heading north to the Western Pacific as a prudent measure".
When the chief Cabinet secretary Yoshihide Suga, the Japanese government spokesman, was asked about the issue at his daily news briefing on Wednesday, he declined to address the misreported itinerary directly.
Instead, the fleet sailed south into the Indian Ocean for exercises with the Royal Australian Navy, at a time when Kim was parading his military might and tested another missile.
The Navy posted an official photograph dated April 15 that showed the Carl Vinson in an Indonesian strait thousands of miles south of North Korea.
Officials said there had been a lack of follow-up with commanders overseeing the aircraft carrier's movements.
On Thursday, the US Navy announced it was extending the Vinson's deployment by 30 days "to provide a persistent presence in the waters off the Korean Peninsula".
Defense Secretary James Mattis told reporters Wednesday in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, that the aircraft carrier's schedule was changed.
Other sources said they were shocked that the Pentagon did not correct the narrative given that Spicer and National Security Adviser Lt. Gen. H.R. McMaster had made statements about the ships.
"How does the USA expect South Koreans to trust the United States when its leader bluffs and exaggerates?"