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China expands its military training locations in South China Sea

China expands its military training locations in South China Sea

Posted August. 19, 2022 07:52,   

Updated August. 19, 2022 07:52


China announced that it will conduct naval exercises in the South China Sea by Friday, seemingly in an effort to hold South Korea and the United States in check, ahead of the Ulchi Freedom Guardian military exercise between South Korea and the U.S. which begins on next Monday.

China’s Weihai Maritime Authority announced on its website that it plans to conduct naval drills in the waters near Qingdao from Aug. 17 to Aug. 19, issuing a ban on private vessels. This part of the sea is near Shangdong Bandao, which is close to South Korea. The Dalian Maritime Authority earlier announced that it would carry out military exercises from Aug. 14 to Aug. 20 in the water to the north of the South China Sea, 100 kilometers away from South Korea’s island Baengyeongdo. China has extended military drills from four areas in the South China Sea to eight areas, ahead of the main exercises of the ROK-U.S. joint military drills.

According to the Chinese authority’s announcement, it is likely that the military exercise around Taiwan, which officially ended on Aug. 7, has been extended to Saturday around the waters in the South China Sea. Some analysts say that China’s series of military drills off the South China Sea are intended for keeping South Korea and the U.S. in check, aiming to possibly create a rift in the ROK-U.S. alliance, while demanding South Korea to keep to its alleged promise to uninstall the THAAD.

China’s defense ministry also announced that it would send its troops to Russia to take part in the Vostok joint military exercises, which will take place in the far east. The United States warned in response that it is worried over China’s military assistance to Russia to help Russia avoid sanctions, and that the United States has made it clear about what would happen if China keeps providing assistance to Russia. The China-Russia joint military drill is taking place for the second time this year since the military drill in the East Sea in May during U.S. President Joe Biden’s Asia trip. Japanese newspaper Asahi Shimbun reported that the Kuril Islands, where Japan and Russia have a territorial dispute over, could be included in the areas of military drills.

Ki-Yong Kim kky@donga.com