Some of China's Air Force bombers were put "on high alert" Wednesday, a US official told the network, and Chinese military aircraft are seeing intensified maintenance as they're made fully ready for action. Those possibilities include defensive exercises or Chinese concerns over North Korea. It was not immediately clear what he was referring to.
Pence said North Korea could receive the same treatment as Syria and Afghanistan has over the past month, so basically he's saying "stop threatening us, or we will bomb you even though we know you aren't actually going to follow through with your threats".
South Korea, the USA and Japan held their 9th Defense Trilateral Talks in Tokyo on Wednesday, releasing a joint statement condemning North Korea's continued missile provocations and urging China to take a more responsible role in securing regional peace.
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The U.N. Security Council on Thursday condemned North Korea's latest failed missile test and demanded it not conduct any more nuclear tests.
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China is North Korea's closest ally.
Experts point out that China also wants to prevent North Korea from becoming a full-fledged nuclear power - and certainly wants to prevent a war on its southern border that could send millions of refugees flooding into China and potentially risk bringing a United States military presence to China's borders.
The official was adamant that the USA is now not anticipating pre-emptive military action against North Korea.
Tensions have escalated over North Korean moves to accelerate its arms programs, including developing an intercontinental ballistic missile that could reach the United States.
The official pointed out the recent engagement with the Chinese, and the stronger language calling for more Chinese pressure on North Korea, is the most immediate impact of that review.
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"The president said that we have an armada going toward the [Korean Peninsula]".
Russian Federation blocked the release of the statement, a Security Council diplomat said.
The exercise "serves as an invaluable opportunity for U.S. and ROKAF forces to train together shoulder-to-shoulder and sharpen tactical skills vital to the defense and security of the Korean Peninsula", said Lt. Gen. Thomas W. Bergeson, 7th Air Force commander.
Such statements by the 15-member council have to be agreed by consensus.
The US Navy's Carl Vinson strike group - consisting of an aircraft carrier and other warships - is on its way to the Western Pacific, Pacific Command said on Tuesday, following an order from President Donald Trump last week. Relations between China and South Korea are tense right now because Seoul is deploying the THAAD anti-missile system, a move that China sees as a strategic threat.
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