The U.S. Navy dispatched the aircraft carrier, a guided missile cruiser and a destroyer squadron to take part in the annual Foal Eagle war games under way in South Korea, Voice of America reported.
The strike group joins 13,000 U.S. and 200,000 South Korean troops taking part in the exercise.
Beijing objected last year when the U.S. military said it would deploy the USS George Washington into the Yellow Sea for joint drills with South Korea.
The Foal Eagle exercise takes place amid nuclear concerns with North Korea and defection rows between the two Asian governments. North Korea last year fired on an island in South Korea, a shelling in which four people died, and is accused of sinking one of its warships in March 2010, killing 46 South Koreans.
South Korea said the Foal Eagle drill was routine but Voice of American quoted North Korea as saying any provocation would turn Seoul into a "sea of fire."