Trump's comments came on the heels of news reports that the aircraft carrier USS Carl Vinson strike group was headed toward North Korea - news seemingly confirmed by a strike group spokesman.
The perceived communications mix-up has raised eyebrows among Korea experts, who wonder whether it erodes the Trump administration's credibility at a time when USA rhetoric about the North's advancing nuclear and missile capabilities are raising concerns about a potential conflict. "We want to send an unambiguous message especially to North Korea that any attempt to use weapons of any kind against our allies in this region or American forces overseas will be defeated and will be met with overwhelming force", Pence said in an interview with CNN.
When the U.S. Pacific Command said on April 9 that the Carl Vinson had been ordered to leave Singapore and return to the Western Pacific, the decision was considered highly unusual, as it had been in exercises off the Korean Peninsula just last month.
The move was designed as a show of force against North Korea's nuclear threat and prompted fears of an imminent war. "It is happening, rather", Spicer said Wednesday as he tried to clarify the issue. "Very powerful", US President Donald Trump told the Fox Business Network. So I think it serves multiple capabilities, " Spicer said, according to the White House.
"The president said that we have an armada going towards the peninsula".
North Korean leader Kim Jong-un responded with his own fiery warnings and threatened to conduct weekly missile tests.
"She's stationed there in the western Pacific for a reason", Mattis told reporters at the Pentagon.More news: Mnuchin: August deadline for tax reform 'not realistic at this point'
It is not clear whether the failure to arrive was a deliberate deception, perhaps created to frighten North Korea's leader Kim Jong-un, a change of plan or simple miscommunication, the BBC's Korea correspondent Stephen Evans says. How does the commander in chief not know that an aircraft carrier is not heading to deter North Korea?
Two days after the announcement, North Korea expressed its fury at the United States carrier group's new orders, calling it "reckless acts of aggression".
U.S. Pacific Command said it would not discuss specific timing of future operations because of security concerns.
The deployment of the strike group has been extended another 30 days for a number of purposes; namely, to provide "flexible deterrent options, all domain access, and a visible forward presence", Kilby wrote.
The Vinson group includes the aircraft carrier USS Carl Vinson and its embarked air wing, the destroyers USS Wayne E. Meyer and USS Michael Murphy, and the cruiser USS Lake Champlain.