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North Korea nuclear crisis

Chinese navy starts live-fire drill off North Korean waters as tensions over nuclear programme escalate

PLA Navy carrying out four-day operation as the United States and its allies conduct similar exercises in the region

PUBLISHED : Thursday, 14 December, 2017, 9:25pm
UPDATED : Thursday, 14 December, 2017, 9:51pm

China is conducting a live-fire exercise off the North Korean peninsula as concerns over the security situation on the peninsula rise.

The drill in the Bohai Sea was due to start on Thursday afternoon and will last until 4pm next Monday, according to a notice issued by the Liaoning Maritime Safety Administration.

The administration marked out a rectangular prohibited area in the waters west of Lushun in Liaoning province, an important naval base for the People’s Liberation Army’s North Sea Fleet, which is responsible for defending the Bohai and Yellow Seas off the Korean peninsula.

In response to North Korea’s rapidly increasing missile threat, the United States, South Korea and Japan are also currently holding a joint exercise in the East China Sea.

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Amid the growing military tensions, the PLA Navy’s guided-missile destroyers have carried out a series of live-fire drills in the Yellow Sea while the Air Force has stepped up its patrol and surveillance over the region.

On Monday, China and Russia started a simulated anti-missile exercise in Beijing.

China’s defence ministry on Monday said the Sino-Russia drills were aimed at boosting cooperation against threats from ballistic and cruise missiles in the region.

During the drills, the two sides practised how to work together to repel such threats from third countries.

The exercise coincided with two days of ballistic missile tracking drills and information-sharing between the United States, Japan and South Korea – their sixth such exercise.