The military vessels will operate in the Western Pacific rather than making previously planned port visits to Australia, it said.
“US Pacific Command ordered the Carl Vinson Strike Group north as a prudent measure to maintain readiness and presence in the Western Pacific,” Commander Dave Benham, spokesperson at US Pacific Command, told AFP news agency.
The US decision comes close on the heels of a US missile strike on Syria that was widely interpreted as putting North Korea on notice over its refusal to abandon its nuclear ambitions.
Earlier this month, North Korea tested a liquid-fuelled Scud missile which only travelled a fraction of its range.
This year North Korean officials, including leader Kim Jong-un, have repeatedly indicated an intercontinental ballistic missile test or something similar could be coming, possibly as soon as April 15, the 105th birthday of North Korea’s founding president and celebrated annually as the Day of the Sun.
North Korea is on a quest to develop a long-range missile capable of hitting the US mainland with a nuclear warhead, and has so far staged five nuclear tests, two of them last year.
Expert satellite imagery analysis suggests it could well be preparing for a sixth, with US intelligence officials warning that North Korea could be less than two years away from developing a nuclear warhead that could reach the continental US.
These include economic and military measures but lean more towards sanctions and increased pressure on China to restrain North Korea.
In February the North simultaneously fired four ballistic missiles off its east coast, three of which fell provocatively close to Japan, in what it said was a drill for an attack on US bases in the neighbouring Asian country.
Last August North Korea also successfully test-fired a submarine-launched ballistic missile 500km towards Japan, far exceeding any previous sub-launched tests, in what Kim described as the “greatest success”.
Source: News agencies