Washington: The United States has sought to reassure China over joint US-South Korean military exercises, with the Pentagon insisting the war games were "not directed" at Beijing.
The four-day exercises starting on Sunday come in the wake of North Korea`s artillery bombardment of a South Korean island, and will include a US aircraft carrier in a bid to deter the North.
"The Chinese government was informed of our intent to conduct this naval exercise in the areas west of the Korean Peninsula," said Pentagon spokesman Darryn James.
"It is important to point out that this exercise is not directed at China. As with previous exercises in this series, these operations are defensive in nature and designed to strengthen deterrence against North Korea," he said.
A Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman told reporters on Thursday that Beijing had "concern" over the action, saying China opposes "any act that undermines peace and stability on the (Korean) peninsula”.
Tensions in the region have escalated after North Korea shelled a South Korean island on Tuesday, killing at least four people, and prompting retaliatory fire from the South.