US-ROK drill in Sea of Japan

Updated: 2010-07-21 11:25
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Washington and Seoul will launch a military drill on Sunday targeting Pyongyang in the Sea of Japan, delaying a similar move in the Yellow Sea after opposition from Beijing over the joint exercise.

US Defense Secretary Robert Gates and his Republic of Korea (ROK) counterpart Kim Tae-young made the announcement after meeting in Seoul on Tuesday.

The two sides said their drill, which will be held from July 25 to 28, is designed to send a "clear message to North Korea that its aggressive behavior must stop" in the wake of the deadly sinking of ROK warship Cheonan in March that has been blamed on Pyongyang.

The first US-ROK drill will involve 10 US ships including the 97,000-ton aircraft carrier USS George Washington and eight ROK vessels, Gates said.

The joint exercise will also involve more than 200 fighter planes from both sides, the Seoul-based Yonghap News Agency reported.

The US F-22 raptor, which can reportedly attack Pyongyang's Yongbyon nuclear facilities only half an hour after departure, will also debut on the Korean Peninsula.

The two allies announced plans of more drills in both the Yellow Sea and the Sea of Japan, without specifying dates.

The Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK) on Tuesday condemned the planned drills. A signed commentary in the Minju Joson newspaper described the plan as "very dangerous saber-rattling aimed at further straining the already deadlocked inter-Korean relations", the State-run Korean Central News Agency reported.

The Chinese Foreign Ministry has not yet responded to the latest announcement.

Beijing has strongly protested against the exercise first set in the Yellow Sea near its coast. The joint drill is very dangerous for China with Beijing under the attacking sphere of the US aircraft carrier, military analysts had said.

The US-ROK joint exercise was repeatedly delayed and partially located to the Sea of Japan with the aircraft carrier to stop further straining US-China military relations, which have been frozen since the White House tried to push forward a massive arms deal with Taiwan earlier this year, analysts said.


(中国日报网英语点津 Helen 编辑)

US-ROK drill in Sea of Japan

About the broadcaster:

US-ROK drill in Sea of Japan

Lee Hannon is Chief Editor at China Daily with 15-years experience in print and broadcast journalism. Born in England, Lee has traveled extensively around the world as a journalist including four years as a senior editor in Los Angeles. He now lives in Beijing and is happy to move to China and join the China Daily team.