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China puts bombers on 'high alert' amid tensions in Korean peninsula

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China on Wednesday put its land-attack, cruise-missile-capable bombers "on high alert" and the US sees it as evidence that Beijing is preparing to respond to a potential situation in North Korea, a US defense official told CNN – reported ANI News (India).

According to the report, the official said the US has also seen an extraordinary number of Chinese military aircraft being brought up to full readiness through intensified maintenance.
These recent steps by the Chinese are assessed as part of an effort to "reduce the time to react to a North Korea contingency".

However, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Lu Kang said Friday that he was "aware of the relevant reports" of a heightened alert in the Chinese Air Force but added he has "no information to give."
This comes in the wake of multiple North Korean missile tests.

Beijing has long been concerned about potential instability in North Korea should the regime in Pyongyang collapse, fearing both an influx of refugees and the potential of reunification under a South Korean government closely allied to the US.

Meanwhile, China is also opposed to the US military's presence in South Korea, protesting the recent decision to begin deploying elements of the THAAD missile defense system.

Given the close economic links between North Korea and China, the US military officials have said that Beijing is critical to solving the North Korean situation, with President Donald Trump recently commending his Chinese counterpart Xi Jinping for Beijing's efforts to curb Pyongyang's activities.

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China on Friday stressed dialogue to resolve the Korean Peninsula issue after the UN Security Council strongly condemned the most recent ballistic missile launch by the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK), reported Xinhua News Agency (China).

In a Thursday press statement, the 15-nation council demanded the DPRK immediately cease further actions that violate relevant Security Council resolutions banning the DPRK from missile launches and nuclear tests.
China remains committed to denuclearizing the Korean Peninsula, maintaining peace and stability there and resolving problems through dialogue and negotiation, Foreign Ministry spokesperson Lu Kang said at a regular news briefing.

"China has always emphasized that the UN Security Council resolutions on the Korean Peninsula nuclear issue should be implemented in a comprehensive and balanced manner, which requires that all related parties should strive for peaceful solution to the Korean Peninsula issue through dialogue and consultation," Lu said.
The Security Council press statement expressed opposition to the missile launch and reiterated its stance on resolving problems through dialogue, Lu said.
He called on all sides to refrain from actions that escalate regional tensions.

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Reporter: Denes Osvalt
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Category: Politics
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