Amid fears of a US strike on North Korea, the countries sharing a border with the latter have reportedly started preparing for a possible all-out war in the Korean peninsula. The Chinese air force has reportedly put its fleet of land-attack, cruise-missile-capable bombers "on high alert" on Wednesday (19 April).
China has also sent nearly 15,000 of its troops to its border with the reclusive state. The Chinese move came even as Russia started mobilising its troops and equipment along its North Korea frontier, according to a video that surfaced on Thursday (20 April).
The South Korean military was also reported to have put its forces on combat readiness.
China recently cautioned that a war could break out any moment, given the continuous provocations from both Washington and Pyongyang, who seem ready to launch military strikes against each other.
The Donald Trump administration has already hinted at military retaliation similar to the missile attacks on Syria against chemical attacks allegedly carried out by President Bashar al-Assad government. A North Korean state media responded to the US warnings, saying that "the US will be reduced to ashes" if it strikes the country.
A US defense official told CNN News on Thursday (20 April) that in addition to putting its bombers on high alert, the Chinese military has also intensified maintenance of its aircraft, apparently to bring them to full readiness. These measures appear to be the Chinese military's effort to "reduce the time to react to a North Korea contingency," the official reportedly said.
During a press conference on Thursday, Trump revealed that some "very unusual moves" have been taken to deal with North Korean threats and Beijing was helping in the cause.
Some senior White House officials also told CNN that the Trump administration is focusing on China as part of its North Korea policy.
"Nobody thinks the Chinese are going to press North Korea militarily or bring the regime to its knees, but the strategy looks to China to find a political solution more than anything else," one senior administration official explained.
According to the officials, Trump's approach is based on a review of the strategies adopted by the previous US administrations to contain North Korea. The analysis showed that "China has never exerted maximum leverage on the Kim regime."
The reason for China not pressurizing the Kim regime could be the vast trade benefits, given that an estimated 85% of North Korea's economic trade is dependent on China, CNN wrote.