China and Russia are massing troops on North Korea's border and the United States "scrambled" a Boeing WC-135 called "Constant Phoenix" today, from a base in Japan. The highly specialized aircraft is designed to take air samples and analyse them for traces of radioactivity.
Commonly called a "Nuke Sniffer" these aircraft can monitor whether or not Nuclear Test-Ban Treaties are being obeyed. In the case of North Korea, they can determine with 100% certainty, if a nuclear device has been test-detonated, even if underground.
The Nuke Sniffer arrived at Kadena Air Base in Okinawa, Japan, early this month amid indications that the North Koreans are preparing for another nuclear test.
Thursday's flight appears meant to check whether the secretive communist nation has detonated a nuclear bomb.
It also tests operational readiness in the event of an actual provocation by the North, added the source.
There was an unconfirmed rumor that North Korea has notified China of its nuclear experiment plan.
South Korea's military said earlier the North seems all set to conduct what would be its sixth nuclear test at its Punggye-ri site in its northeastern region anytime on the leadership's decision.
China Puts Bomber Aircraft on "High Alert"
The US is seeing evidence that the Chinese military is preparing for a potential North Korea "contingency," a US defense official said Thursday.
Russia Moves Tanks and Troops to North Korea Border
Few folks around the world realize that Russia shares a border with North Korea as well. As shown on the map below, an 11 mile stretch of land at the far northeaster tip of North Korea, borders Russia.
That region of Russia is sparsely populated, so when three very long trainloads of tanks, artillery and Russian troops pulled-in to the area starting Tuesday evening, locals took notice right away.
Video of the trains with numerous Russian military resources were recorded on video, and the videos were released on Social Media Wednesday. One such video appears below:
Fear of Refugees or Plans for War?
It is widely known that in any armed conflict, civilians war zones, sometimes by the hundreds-of-thousands, to neighboring countries. The fact that both China and Russia have deployed significant troops and weaponry to their borders with North Korea may seem prudent, if they fear a sudden influx of Refugees. It may also signal something else: Preparation for war.
The question seems to be, whose side will China and Russia assist?
Will both countries see that the North Koreans have become a Liability and thus side with any US effort to put an end to North Korean nuclear ambitions? Or will both countries team-up and fight on behalf of North Korea in the event the US attacks?
This is the question keeping many military minds awake at night; and it is a key question. If China and Russia move in to support North Korea against a US military action, then we will witness the outbreak of World War 3, as the three world super-powers engage each other in battle.
Stay tuned: It's History we're all watching right now.