The American Navy's "Carl Vinson Attack Group" is made up of an aircraft carrier and other warships with a massive attack capability. The United States Pacific Command (USPACOM) described the deployment of the group which now headed toward the western Pacific as "a prudent move to stay prepared in the region."

North Korea's nuclear program

President Donald Trump recently said that the United States is ready to act individually to address the North Korean nuclear threat. It is not unusual for aircraft carriers to operate in the area, and the United States regularly deploys military assets, such as these vessels, in the region as a demonstration of strength.

In fact, Vinson was in South Korea last month performing military exercises.

"The number one threat in the region remains North Korea, because of its reckless, irresponsible and destabilizing nuclear test program and its pursuit of nuclear weapons capability," said USPACOM spokesman Dave Benham. North Korea has been conducting several nuclear tests and experts believe that it has intentions to develop a nuclear warhead with enough reach to target the United States.

Trump's options for North Korea

North Korea on Wednesday tested a medium-range ballistic missile from its eastern Sinpo port to the Sea of Japan. The trial, condemned by Japan and South Korea, took place on the eve of Chinese President Xi Jinping's visit to the United States where he met with Donald Trump.

North Korea, meanwhile, claims that it was provoked by military exercises carried out by the United States and South Korea, which it sees as the preparations for an invasion.

The United States has been increasing pressure on China - a historic ally of North Korea - to help reduce tensions in the Asian region. Beijing, however, has been reluctant to isolate its neighbor.

In a recent interview, Donald Trump said Washington is ready to act without Beijing's cooperation.

"If China is not going to solve North Korea, we will," he said. The UN has banned Pyongyang from conducting any kind of nuclear or missile test, but it has repeatedly violated the bans.

Pyongyang has been watching in detail the actions of President Trump, in particular, the attack that Washington launched against Syrian forces on Thursday night.

The Vinson strike group will operate in the western Pacific instead of executing pre-planned visits to ports in Australia, Pacific Command said.