US and North Korea put on dueling shows of air power as nuclear test looms

F 15 elephant walkUS Air Force/Senior Airman John LinzmeierFully armed aircraft from the US’s 18th Wing during a no-notice exercise.

North Korea’s dictator Kim Jong Un watched his air force exhibit their air-strike accuracy mere hours before a snap US military exercise flew dozens of fighter jets in dueling displays of airpower on Thursday.

South Korea’s Yonhap News reported North Korea’s “target-striking contest,” which reportedly pleased the dictator, while Fox News broke the story about the US’s massive elephant walk of F-15s, helicopters, and tankers.

But while North Korea’s air display may have been a show, its reported plans to test a nuclear warhead on Saturday, the anniversary of its founding, isn’t being taken lightly.

The US has sent their USS Carl Vinson aircraft carrier to the Korean peninsula as tensions flare — a move the North Koreans have condemned as “reckless.”

As the two sides flex their muscles in a lopsided contest, it’s China — North Korea’s biggest economic and political backer — that may hold the keys to deescalating the conflict.

“Military force cannot resolve the issue,” Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi told Reuters in Beijing.

At a press conference on Wednesday, US President Donald Trump suggested that he’d pressured China into cutting off support for North Korea and to force the rogue regime to denuclearize.

China is responsible for a whopping 85% of North Korea’s external trade and supplying a similar amount of its energy imports, but Beijing has never fully used this to get the Kim regime to drop its arms program.

Now, as the US increasingly talks of using military force against North Korea, China has finally signalled a new willingness to act.

NOW WATCH: How the US could prevent a North Korean nuclear strike — according to a former Marine and cyberwarfare expert

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