China has become increasingly frustrated with North Korea’s missile threats and ordered its military to be on nationwide alert. About 25,000 troops of the Chinese military’s 47th group army of the Ninth Armored Brigade have been instructed to be ready to move in the areas near the North Korea border, in preparation for a possible attack on the country by the United States, according to Oriental Daily News in Hong Kong.
Tensions escalate on the peninsula as North Korea may undertake nuclear activity as early as Saturday in response to Washington’s talk of strikes; the strategic deployment of a U.S. aircraft carrier and South Korea and the U.S militaries joint exercises.
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China Post reports that the Chinese government may have deployed about 150,000 troops along the North Korea border on Sunday.
In addition to latest threats, Pyongyang celebrates the birthday of its founding father Kim Il-sung, the grandfather of Kim Jong-un, every year on April 15. This year, festivities could take on a nuclear tern.
On Wednesday North Korean monitoring service 38 North said the country’s Punggye-ri nuclear site is “primed and ready” for a sixth nuclear test.
“The activity during the past six weeks is suggestive of the final preparations for a test,” 38 North analyst Joseph Bermudez told CNN.
CNBC is citing experts who believe North Korea’s navy has around 70 submarines in its fleet, although only a handful today are believed to be capable of firing submarine-launched ballistic missiles or so-called SLBMs. What’s more, defense analysts believe Pyongyang has the capability today of building a nuclear warhead small enough to arm a submarine missile.
And if nothing happens on April 15, that could mean Kim has another occasion in mind.
“The back up date may be April 25, the foundation day of guerrilla forces launched by KIS, which became the Korean People’s Army,” John Park, Asian security analyst at Harvard Kennedy School, told CNBC.