U.S.–North Korea tensions seen in propaganda, miscommunication

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USS Carl Vinson (U.S. Navy)

North Korea still appears to be taunting the United States with a nuclear threat. North Korean soldiers watched a disturbing fake propaganda video showing missiles blowing up San Francisco. The film ends with pictures of a giant ball of fire and an American flag burning.

On tour in Asia Wednesday, Vice President Mike Pence warned that the U.S. will not rest until North Korea gives up its nuclear weapons program.

"And those who would challenge our resolve or readiness should know, we will defeat any attack and meet any use of conventional or nuclear weapons with an overwhelming and effective American response," Pence said. "The sword stands ready."

That response includes sending the USS Carl Vinson aircraft carrier strike group closer to the Sea of Japan following a major miscommunication about its whereabouts. While President Donald Trump and his team were touting the move as a show of force, the strike group was sailing in the opposite direction about 3,500 miles away. That prompted North Korea leader Kim Jong-un to say it was a bluff.

Appearing on the Fox News Channel Wednesday night, White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer was pressed about it again.

"I think there was a little bit of probably confusion as to when [the carrier group] would go, but the order was given by the Pacific commander that they would be heading there, they were heading there," Spicer told Fox News. "I think some folks misread the immediacy of that order."

Political analyst David Birdsell told Fox 5 that this misstep has consequences among American voters.

"It undermines faith that the president this situation fully under his command," Birdsell said. "You can be certain that the military knew where those ships were, but does the president?"

North Korea's missile tests certainly appear to have upset China, which voiced rare concerns about North Korea's nuclear and missile development.

The White House praised Chinese cooperation.