Beijing, China. Much is being made of the Chinese putting their cruise missile capable bomber fleet on stand by this week, but the real take away is the US seems to be understanding both Russia and China might have plans very different than regime change in North Korea.

China temporarily put cruise missile-capable bombers “on high alert” this week as the United States sees evidence the Chinese military was preparing to respond to a potential situation in North Korea, a US defense official has said.

The Defense Department official said the United States has also seen an extraordinary number of Chinese military aircraft being brought up to full readiness as part of a military posture adjustment to increase its ability to respond.The alert status change was thought to be a temporary measure. One the Chinese deny.

The Chinese Ministry of Foreign Affairs spokesman Lu Kang said Friday he was “aware of the relevant reports” of a heightened alert in the Chinese air force but said he has “no information to give.”

China’s Ministry of National Defense said the US official’s assertions were not true.”The Chinese military at the Chinese-North Korea border is maintaining a normal level of combat readiness and training,” the ministry said in a statement, denying the bombers were on standby.

Washington and Pyongyang have cranked up the rhetoric, with the latter’s state media warning Thursday that the United States and South Korea could be “completely destroyed in an instant” if North Korea launched a pre-emptive strike.

Meanwhile much has been made of the US Navy carrier group not heading directly to the Korean peninsula area. Both Trump and Vice President Pence have had hard words, but US actual action has stayed in check-at least so far.

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