China launches military exercises in Yellow Sea
China’s army has kicked off “unprecedented” air and sea drills in the Yellow Sea, between the Korean Peninsula and China, a report says.
According to a late Friday report by the Chinese People’s Liberation Army’s Daily, the exercises began earlier in the day. The report, however, did not specify the exact location of the drills and the duration.
The report, meanwhile, added that around 100 warships, tens of naval aviation planes, and electronic countermeasure forces, divided into the red and blue armies, were involved in the maneuver, carrying out “intensive confrontations within a short period of time, including long-range fire assaults, coordinated assaults at surface targets and comprehensive air defense and anti-missile operations.”
Describing the density of fire as “unprecedented,” the daily added that real weapons were used in the whole process of the confrontation, “during which missiles, torpedoes, artillery shells and jamming bombs were fired more densely than before.”
The newspaper said electronic warfare units of the Shenyang Military Area Command, which is located near North Korea, and the Jinan Military Area Command also participated in the drills. Their participation “turned the naval drill into a multiservice joint exercise, making the drill more close to a real IT-based sea battle,” the report said.
Back in May, the navies of Russia and China carried out joint drills in the Mediterranean Sea.
In March, China announced its military budget would increase by 10.1 percent in 2015, reaching 887 billion yuan (USD 144.2 billion).
“Building a solid national defense and strong armed forces is fundamental to safeguarding China’s sovereignty,” Prime Minister Li Keqiang has said.
The drills came amid Beijing’s territorial tensions with its neighbors around the South China Sea, which is speculated to contain huge deposits of oil and gas.
Beijing claims almost the entire South China Sea, while other states such as Brunei, Malaysia, the Philippines, Vietnam and Taiwan have competing claims over parts of the sea.
China announced an “Air Defense Identification Zone (ADIZ)” over the East China Sea in 2013. The announcement sparked condemnation from Japan and the United States. Japanese media say that Beijing is considering a similar zone over the South China Sea.