The Vinson Strike Group consists of the USS Carl Vinson, a Nimitz-class nuclear-powered aircraft carrier, two destroyers and one cruiser.
An aircraft carrier the US Navy said was steaming towards the Korean Peninsula amid rising tensions has not yet departed, a US defence official has acknowledged.
"I actually have to give credit to the White House because you have a China that is more engaged than ever before in North Korea", he said.
"We have said again and again all parties need to work together to de-escalate the tension instead of being provocative because provocation can not achieve the goals", stressed Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Lu Kang during a press conference on Wednesday.
He said that under President Donald Trump, the USA will stand up to its enemies with its allies.
But that test hasn't happened yet, though North Korean leader Kim Jong-un attempted to launch a missile Sunday that the Pentagon said blew up nearly immediately after launch.
On April 8, the aircraft carrier and its strike group left Singapore.
North Korea remains technically at war with the South and the United States because the 1950-53 Korean War ended in an armistice and no peace treaty was signed. On April 11, Defense Secretary James Mattis - having just met with Harris in Washington - noted that no specific incident prompted the order to curtail the exercise program and head north. The narrative last week was that the US and its allies in the Western Pacific were gearing up for a showdown with strongman Kim Jong Un ahead of the anniversary of the birth of his grandfather, the late North Korean leader Kim Il Sung. To counter the potential threat, and position the U.S.to launch a potential retaliatory strike, the U.S.S. Carl Vinson was dispatched to provide air support.
The story unravelled when the US Navy released a photograph showing the Carl Vinson thousands of kilometres away in the Sunda Strait, between the Indonesian islands of Java and Sumatra, on Saturday, the same day Kim Jong-un was making a show of his military arsenal in the streets of Pyongyang.
If the USS Carl Vinson strike group is heading to the Korean peninsula, it is taking its time.