As tensions with North Korea rise, China is on high alert

China is already preparing for the worst U.S. officials told reporters

(AP Photo/Mark Schiefelbein)

(CNN) – North Korea has threatened the U.S. with total destruction in retaliation for a pre-emptive strike. This comes as something odd may be going on at North Korea’s nuclear test site.

China is already preparing for the worst U.S. officials told reporters. China has put missile-capable bombers and other military aircraft on “high alert.”

More than a thousand U.S. troops have teamed up with South Korean forces for operation Max Thunder. One of the largest military exercises between the two countries.

As tensions with North Korea boil over, Kim Jong Un vowed to meet U.S. threats of a pre-emptive strike.

An op-ed in a North Korean state newspaper warns, “Our pre-emptive strike towards U.S. and its followers will be the most merciless strike, aiming for a complete destruction that doesn’t allow the survival of the enemies.”

If the “super powerful” strike goes forward, they add, the U.S. mainland “will be completely destroyed in an instant. Only ashes will be left.”

Secretary of state Rex Tillerson said the Trump administration is trying to force North Korea to the negotiating table for a political solution to the crisis, “We’re reviewing all of the status of North Korea, both in terms of state sponsorship of terrorism as well as all the other ways in which we can bring pressure to bear on the regime in Pyongyang to reengage, but reengage with us on a different footing than the past talks have been held.”

It’s never worked before, but U.S. officials said the strategy hinges on China putting the pressure on Kim’s regime.

Beijing has already banned imports of North Korean coal and stopped Air China flights to Pyongyang. And today China supported a tough UN Security Council resolution condemning North Korea’s missile tests.

Now, President Donald Trump wants President Xi Jinping to limit trade and cut oil imports in exchange for a better trade deal with the U.S.

Michael Hayden, a National Security Analyst, said, “All this chest-thumping on our part is probably less designed to influence North Koreans than it is to influence the Chinese who do not want us disturbing the equilibrium in that part of the world. So maybe we can use it as leverage against them to get them to do more.”

The North Korean monitoring service “38 North” warns the country’s nuclear test site was “primed and ready.” But in an odd development the group released satellite imagery of what appears to be three volleyball games underway at different

After some confusion last week, the USS Carl Vinson is headed towards the Korea peninsula, the navy has extended deployments for sailors on board.