China ‘fires warning’ with array of navy drills off Korean peninsula
Yellow Sea exercises come in wake of Pyongyang’s second long-range missile test in a month
Chinese naval forces will conduct more than 10 kinds of drills and launch dozens of types of missiles during four days of live-fire exercises off the Korean peninsula, according to state media.
The details of the drills, which end on Tuesday, were released less than two weeks after North Korea fired off its second long-range missile in a month.
State-run CCTV reported on Monday that the naval forces taking part in the exercises in the Yellow Sea would practice offensive and defensive manoeuvrers with surface ships, submarines, air support, and coastguard forces.
The drills would mirror real combat conditions and test the troops’ tactical, combat and weapons training, the report said.
The exercises included aerial interception and assaults by land and sea, it said.
Watch: Chinese navy live fire drill in the Yellow Sea
Top brass overseeing the drills included navy chief Shen Jinlong, Central Military Commission training and management head Li Huohui,commissar of the Northern Theatre Command Fan Xiaojun, and navy commissar Miao Hua.
The drills were taking place in the waters between the coast of Qingdao in Shandong province and Lianyungang in Jiangsu province, according to notices from the PLA Navy’s North Sea Fleet and the Shandong Maritime Safety Administration.
They come after a three-day naval exercise in the Yellow Sea late last month ahead of the 90th anniversary of the People’s Liberation Army.
Analysts said this week’s show of force in the geostrategic area near the increasingly provocative North Korea was an unsurprising response to Pyongyang’s July 28 missile test.
Malcolm Davis, a Chinese defence specialist at the Australian Strategic Policy Institute, said the latest drill was essentially a warning to Pyongyang.
“[The Chinese] could be sending a message to the North Koreans that they will be effective in any conflict if war is to break out,” he said.
Collin Koh, a maritime security expert at Singapore’s Nanyang Technological University, said the drill was meant to deter various players on the Korean peninsula, including North Korea and the United States.
Koh said the exercises were intended to help ward off a full-blown shooting war.
“States do this because they want to send a signal,” he said. “It’s not just targeted at North Korea.”