China Places Bombers on ‘High Alert’

The US is seeing evidence that the Chinese military is preparing for a potential North Korea contingency, a US defense official told CNN Thursday. Chinese air force land-attack, cruise-missile-capable bombers were put “on high alert” on Wednesday, the official said, adding that the US has also seen an extraordinary number of Chinese military aircraft being brought up to full readiness through intensified maintenance. The official said that these recent steps by the Chinese are assessed as part of an effort to

“reduce the time to react to a North Korea contingency.” Such a contingency could include the risk of an armed conflict breaking out as tensions on the peninsula have risen in the wake of multiple North Korean missile tests. There has also been ratcheted up rhetoric from the US and Pyongyang, with the latter’s state media warning Thursday that a pre-emptive strike by North Korea would result in the US and South Korea being “completely destroyed in an instant.” READ MORE