CHINESE military leaders have revealed they are testing their latest missile-laden destroyer in waters close to North Korea.
Footage released by state media shows navy crew launching weapons off the state-of-the-art Xining warship to help get sailors ‘battle ready’.
The manoeuvres come as the communist country warned a “storm is about to break” on the Korean peninsula.
Tensions have reaching boiling point after the US moved warships to the area and Pyongyang stepped up a threat to defend itself with nukes in the face of pressure from President Donald Trump.
The Chinese ship’s missile systems are being tested in the Yellow Sea – which separates China from the Korean peninsular.
Xining was unveiled in January and boasts a deadly arsenal of weapons designed for missions including air defence and submarine warfare.
Xiang Zhihong, a supervising officer with the Chinese navy’s north sea fleet, reportedly said: “This live-fire exercise not only provided officers and sailors with an opportunity to fire the artillery, but also tested and regulated their firing techniques and help them gather battling experience.”
It comes after North Korea’s vice-foreign minister Han Song-Ryol threatened “all out war” in an officially sanctioned interview with the BBC from his capital Pyongyang.
He insisted that North Korea will continue to test missiles weekly – despite last weekend’s high-profile botched launch.
Mike Pence, the US vice president, today fired another clear shot across North Korea’s bow warning Washington’s “shield stands guard and sword stands ready”.
Speaking to more than 2,500 US and Japanese military personnel on the flight deck of the USS Ronald Reagan as it was moored in the US naval base at Yokosuka, 50 miles south-west of Tokyo, Mr Pence warned Pyongyang not to test the resolve of President Trump or the US military.
“Storm clouds gather on the horizon”, said Mr Pence.
“North Korea is the most dangerous and urgent threat to the peace and security of the Asia-Pacific”, he said.
“As President Trump has made clear to the world, the era of strategic patience is over”, he said.
Any North Korean use of conventional or nuclear weapons will be met with an “overwhelming and effective” response from the US military in the region, he warned.