Responding to Cheonan warship sinking, US and South Korea confirm war games
To show North Korea their strength after it sank the Cheonan warship, the US and South Korea today announced a joint antisubmarine drill. China has objected, citing security concerns.
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Public sentiments in China and South Korea vis-à-vis each other have fallen to a new low in recent years. Some Chinese people have been comparing the US-South Korea drill to the visit to Yasukuni Shrine by Japan's former prime minister Koizumi Junichiro.Skip to next paragraph
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It is a shame and a provocation on China's doorstep.
If a US aircraft carrier enters the Yellow Sea, it will mean a major setback to Seoul's diplomacy, as hostility between the peoples of China and South Korea will probably escalate, which Beijing and Seoul have been working for years to avoid.
TIME magazine reports that China may be feeling especially wary of the US military after the arrival of three Tomahawk missile-carrying American subs in its neighborhood on the same day. “US officials deny that any message is being directed at Beijing,” according to TIME, “saying the Tomahawk triple play was a coincidence.”
Washington so far appears to be keeping quiet on Beijing’s opposition to the Yellow Sea drills. US Defense Department spokesman Bryan Whitman told The Christian Science Monitor in May, when the exercises were announced, that the focus would be on antisubmarine warfare and the interdiction of banned weapons shipments.
“We think that this is an area where, working with the Republic of Korea, we can hone some skills and increase capabilities,” the Monitor quoted Whitman as saying.
Foreign Ministry spokesman Kim Young-sun said, "The West Sea drill is a matter under discussion between two allies, Korea and the U.S., as a response to the North's attack on the Cheonan. We'll make judgment on our own and decide to take action based on such judgment." He said the government is "certain that the Chinese government also understands the nature of the joint exercise."
Privately, however, some government officials feel China is overstepping its bounds with its support for North Korea at the UN Security Council and protests against the drill.