China Holding 4-Day Naval Exercise in Yellow Sea



BEIJING - China will hold live-fire naval exercises in the Yellow Sea in the coming days, state media reported Aug. 29, after voicing opposition to similar war games to be staged there by the United States and South Korea.

The Beihai fleet of the People's Liberation Army Navy will conduct a "live ammunition drill" from Sept. 1 to Sept. 4 off the coast of eastern China's Qingdao city, Xinhua news agency reported.

"This is an annual routine training, mainly involving the shooting of shipboard artillery," said the report, citing China's defense ministry.
The United States and South Korea are planning a new round of joint drills in the Yellow Sea in September in another show of force against North Korea following the sinking of a South Korean warship in March.
Any military drills involving the United States in the Yellow Sea are a sensitive issue because of the area's proximity to China, and the disputed maritime boundary between South and North Korea.
China has bristled at the idea of a U.S. aircraft carrier group patrolling waters near its coast, although the U.S. military has said the planned anti-submarine exercise in September would not involve a carrier.
"This would be a fresh provocation following a series of joint U.S.-[South Korean] activities that have caused tensions in East Asia," Chinese Rear Adm. Yang Yi said in an Aug. 13 commentary in the China Daily.
"Offending Chinese people is not in the fundamental interest of the U.S. ... Any activity aimed at pushing a country with a 1.3-billion populace with enormous potential would be inadvisable."
The United States and South Korea have staged massive joint naval and air exercises in the nearby Sea of Japan that were opposed by Beijing.
The drills followed the sinking of the corvette Cheonan in March, which Seoul and its allies say was caused by a North Korean torpedo attack.
China is North Korea's closest ally and trade partner, and Beijing has refused to join in international condemnation of Pyongyang for the incident.
China staged naval, air and artillery exercises late last month, although it was not clear if the drills had been pre-planned or were in response to the U.S.-South Korea exercises.
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