China holds live-fire aircraft carrier drill, builds massive border force as North Korean missile test loomsIn this July 27, 2013, file photo, North Korean soldiers turn and look towards leader Kim Jong Un as they carry packs marked with the nuclear symbol during a military parade in Pyongyang, North Korea. North Korea’s nuclear and missile programs have without doubt come at a severe cost. Even so, the North has managed to march ever closer to having an arsenal capable of attacking targets in the region and _ as demonstrated by its July 4 ICBM test launch _ the United States’ mainland. (AP Photo/Wong Maye-E, File)
North Korea marked the “Day of Victory in the Great Fatherland Liberation War” Thursday, a national holiday that celebrates the end of the Korean war in 1953, which may indicate a missile test is forthcoming as tensions between the US, Pyongyang, and China mount.
US intelligence agencies have said for some time that they expect another North Korean missile test soon, as North Korea’s July 4th missile test only demonstrated a limited capability.
Since then, CIA director Mike Pompeo has spoken candidly about the possibility that the US may look to take out Kim Jong Un, and China has pressed on with an increasingly assertive military posture towards North Korea.
Meanwhile, North Korean propaganda has shot back, saying the country would hit the US with a “powerful nuclear hammer” if Kim were threatened.
In the Yellow Sea west of the Korean peninsula, China recently held live-fire drills with its only aircraft carrier, the Liaoning, the South China Morning Post reported.
While experts told The Post the drills were linked to the 90th anniversary of the founding of China’s People’s Liberation Army, Ni Lexiong, a Shanghai-based military affairs commentator, acknowledged the drill would send “a very subtle message to North Korea.”
Additionally, China has built a massive military presence along its border with North Korea complete with helicopter gunships, aerial drone surveillance, and large ground and artillery forces.
US intelligence services recently told ABC News that North Korea could test its Hwasong-14 intercontinental ballistic missile on Thursday, but bad weather may prevent such a launch.