Beijing: China on Wednesday said it is very much
opposed to the joint military exercise to be held in late July
by South Korea and the United States in the Japan Sea and
cautioned that it could escalate tensions in the region.
"We firmly oppose foreign warships and military aircraft
entering the Yellow Sea and other coastal waters of China to
engage in activities affecting China`s security and
interests," Foreign Ministry spokesman Qin Gang said.
"We express concern over the relevant activities. We
urge all sides to maintain a cool head and exercise restraint,
and not do anything that aggravates regional tensions," the
"China`s stance on the ROK (Republic of Korea)-US drills
is clear...We will closely watch developments in the
situation," Qin said.
Naval and air forces of allies US and South Korea will
take part in a series of joint drills next week. The first
joint exercise will involve the US aircraft carrier USS George
Washington and will start on July 25 in the Japan Sea.
The two sides plan to stage other drills in both the
Japan Sea and the Yellow Sea. The July drill is the first in a
series designed "to send a clear message to North Korea that
its aggressive behaviour must stop", US Defence Secretary
Robert Gates and South Korean Defence Minister Kim Tae-Young
had said in a joint statement yesterday.
The move comes following the March sinking of a South
Korean warship in which 46 sailors were killed. An
international investigation blamed it on a torpedo fired from
a North Korean submarine near the Koreas` sea border, but
Pyongyang has denied the charge.