As tensions mounted on the Korean Peninsula, Adm. Harry Harris made a dramatic announcement: An aircraft carrier had been ordered to sail north from Singapore on April 8 toward the Western Pacific.
The regime is today celebrating the birthday of the founder of his family dynasty, an anniversary often marked by a bellicose show of strength.
The U.S. Navy Nimitz-class aircraft carrier USS Carl Vinson is steaming for waters off the Korean Peninsula, while joint South Korean-U.S. military exercises are set to continue in South Korea until the end of April.
Nor should the aircraft carrier's presence, alone, be given too much weight, he added, since any early strikes on North Korea would likely have been carried out by long-range aircraft.
President Donald Trump, who on April 12 said he was "sending an armada" that was "very powerful" to the western Pacific Ocean to deal with North Korea and its autocratic leader, Kim Jong-Un, apparently lied about the destination of those USA warships.
But turns out it was all false- the strike group wasn't en route to North Korea last week after all.
"Obviously, it's an intimidatory tactic adopted by the Trump administration to push Kim Jong-un to yield to Washington's carrier threats", Li said.
Vice President Mike Pence left Seoul for Japan, where he reportedly reassured Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe that the US would work with Japan and other allies in the region to find "a peaceable resolution and the denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula".
The revelation calls into question a recent exchange during a White House press briefing where Press Secretary Sean Spicer was asked what the point was of putting a carrier group in the Sea of Japan, and he said, "A carrier group is several things".
The warning comes amid fears that North Korea has plans to carry out its sixth nuclear test.
In recent months it has demonstrated signs that it wants to help the global community force North Korea to back down - in February it banned all coal imports from the country and last week deployed 150,000 troops to the border.
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. As the brown bomber jacket-clad vice president was briefed near the military demarcation line, two North Korean soldiers watched from a short distance away, one taking multiple photographs of the American visitor.
The USS Michael Murphy (from l.), the USS Lake Champlain and the USS Carl Vinson move toward the Korean Peninsula on Friday.