China squawks but joint drill still onThe United States will go ahead with plans for a joint military exercise with Korea in the Yellow Sea despite opposition from China, the Pentagon said Thursday.
“We are still planning bilateral exercises with the Republic of Korea,” Maureen Schumann, a spokeswoman for the Pentagon, told Yonhap News Agency.
Schumann was responding to remarks by Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Qin Gang earlier in the day that China is firmly opposed to the Korea-U.S. joint military exercises scheduled for later this month.
Qin also called on relevant parties to refrain from raising tensions in the region, apparently referring to Seoul and Washington’s drills, which are intended as a warning to North Korea against any further provocations following the sinking of the Cheonan warship in March that killed 46 sailors.
Schumann said she did not have the timing for the proposed joint military drills, nor could she confirm if the U.S.S. George Washington will take part in the exercise.
“We have no information to currently release on timing or assets participating,” she said.
The exercises were initially planned for late last month, but were delayed due to what Seoul officials said were technical problems.
Pyongyang denies sinking the Cheonan. Yonhap