China naval exercises to counter US-S Korean moves
  • This Section
  • Latest
  • Web Wrap
Last Updated: Tuesday, June 29, 2010, 17:02
  
Beijing: In a move that could escalate tensions in the surcharged Korean peninsula, China said its military forces would kick-off live ammunition exercises in East China Sea from tomorrow in an apparent response to a joint naval manoeuvres between US and South Korea.

"The People's Liberation Army (PLA) of China will launch a six-day, live ammunition drill starting on Wednesday in the East China Sea, a move that analysts said is in response to a joint exercise between the United States and Republic of Korea (ROK) navies in the Yellow Sea," state run China Daily said today.

East China Sea is off the coast of one of China's main cities Shanghai facing the Korean peninsula and Japan.

The PLA decision was taken on June 24 and released to the media ahead of the commencement of planned exercises by US and South Korea yesterday, the Daily said.

But the South Korean navy has already announced that its joint exercises with US have been postponed to July, it said.

According to the PLA announcement, all vessels will be prohibited from entering its designated exercise area from midnight to 6 pm, from June 30 to July 5.

"They must follow orders of the Chinese navy to ensure safety," it said.

An officer of the Ministry of Defence said the PLA's planned drill is routine.

But some analysts said it was rare that China publicise its military exercises days in advance. The exercises were announced as US-South Korea geared up to conduct their exercises in the aftermath of the drowning of South Korean naval vessel allegedly by North Korea few months ago.

Pyongyang denied its involvement, but an international panel that investigated the incident pointed to a North Korean torpedo being responsible for the sinking of the vessel in which 42 sailors were killed.

The move by China regarded as close ally of Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK-North Korea) seen as an attempt to flex its muscles to stave off any military action against DPRK.

Meanwhile as the pressure mounted North Korea yesterday vowed to strengthen its nuclear weaponry "in a newly developed way" to cope with persistent US hostility and its military threat which was interpreted by many western analysts as a warning that it may have developed a more powerful hydrogen bomb.

PTI


First Published: Tuesday, June 29, 2010, 17:02


comments powered by Disqus