The aircraft carrier USS Carl Vinson and its strike group actually sailed south after U.S.
A senior administration official was also quoted as telling CNN that it was because of a miscommunication. The Carl Vinson took part last month in the U.S.
But although the USS Vinson carrier group headed into the South China Sea, it didn't continue north towards the Korean Peninsula.
The U.S. Navy's Flickr account is not usually a source of headline news, but it drew considerable attention on Tuesday after a new photo of the carrier Carl Vinson appeared to contradict widespread reports of her impending arrival off North Korea. Japan has even issued a travel advisory for South Korea and convened a National Security Council meeting to discuss plans to evacuate its some 60,000 nationals residing here.
Joel Wit, a co-founder of the 38 North programme of the US-Korea Institute at Johns Hopkins University, said the matter was "very perplexing" and fed into North Korea's narrative that the US is all bluster and does not follow through on threats.
Two days after the announcement, North Korea expressed its fury at the U.S. carrier group's new orders, calling it "reckless acts of aggression".
"Our deployment has been extended 30 days to provide a persistent presence in the waters off the Korean peninsula", the group's commander, Rear Adm. James Kilby, wrote Wednesday on the group's Facebook page.
"The Carl Vinson Strike Group cancelled a previously planned port visit to Australia and is continuing on track for all assigned missions in the Western Pacific", a statement said.
Pentagon chief Jim Mattis on 11 April said the Vinson was "on her way up" to the peninsula.
"We are sending an armada, very powerful", Trump told Fox Business News, warning that Kim Jong Un "is doing the wrong thing".
China is urging a return to negotiations over North Korea's pursuit of nuclear weapons after Vice President Mike Pence warned that the US has lost its patience with the regime. At a daily Foreign Ministry briefing on Friday, ministry spokesman Lu Kang reiterated the Chinese side's "serious concern" regarding "recent trends about North Korea's nuclear and missile development". By last Saturday, the Vinson was sailing through the Sunda Strait, which separates the Indonesian islands of Java and Sumatra, thousands of kilometers from the Korean peninsula.
Officials have said the strike group was set to participate in a joint exercise with Australian forces before heading toward Korean waters, in apparent contradiction to White House rhetoric.