The White House stood by President Donald Trump's recent talk of a Navy strike force on its way to the Korean peninsula, after the USS Carl Vinson was spotted thousands of miles away, headed in the opposite direction.
The US military's Pacific Command has now explained that it had to complete the training with Australia, and that the strike group was now "proceeding to the Western Pacific as ordered" and should arrive near the Korean Peninsula early next week.
"That's a fact. It happened".
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".
Now, Defense Secretary James Mattis insists the USA is going to send the strike group to North Korea, and that they definitely mean it this time.
On April 15, the Navy published a photo of the aircraft carrier as it was transiting the Sunda Strait-some 5600 kilometers (3,500 miles) southwest of the Korean Peninsula.
On Sunday, North Korea attempted to test a ballistic missile, but it exploded seconds after launch.
He said the situation on the Korean Peninsula is already very complicated and sensitive and tense, and all relevant parties who do not wish to see an escalation of tension shall speak and act in a constructive way.
The move was apparently made over fears North Korea would carry out a sixth nuclear test.
After the Navy's image of the ships spread across the internet, the narrative changed. And I will say this: "He is doing the wrong thing", Trump added, referring to Kim Jong Un.
"We said that it was heading there, and it was heading there, it is heading there".
Mr Pence said the threat from the isolated regime was growing.
Secretary of Defense James Mattis on April 11 said the Vinson was "on her way up" to the peninsula.
Some experts suggested that the situation could have been a tactic to step up pressure on North Korea and to give some leeway to China ahead of the deployment of the navy strike force.
On Tuesday, the Pentagon's chief spokeswoman, Dana White, conceded: "This should have been communicated more clearly at the time".
"At a time of emergency, disinformation could be used as a tactic, but if the US president spreads disinformation in peacetime like now, it would hurt the credibility of the USA", he said.