China dismisses possibility of Sino-DPRK military exercise

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Beijing, July 16 (ANI): China has dismissed the possibility of launching a joint military exercise with the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK) as a counter measure to upcoming drills by the United States and the Republic of Korea (ROK).

"There is no single country or military alliance that can solve issues regarding regional security, it needs joint efforts from countries in the region," the China Daily quoted Foreign Ministry spokesman Qin Gang, as quoted.

According to the China Daily, China is highly sensitive to foreign military presence in the Yellow Sea, described by Japanese media as a "gateway to China".

China's strong protests against the US-ROK joint exercise, especially targeted at the aircraft carrier USS George Washington, has been cited as the main reason for the frequent delays of the upcoming drill.

Song Xiaojun, a Beijing-based military analyst, said Washington has achieved its goal of delaying the handing over of the wartime operational control to the ROK for three years in the wake of the Cheonan incident.

"Now, there is no need for the US to irritate China for the ROK," he said.

Meanwhile, the US and ROK are considering holding continuous joint military exercises within the year to deter Pyongyang in the wake of the sinking of an ROK warship in March.

"So, after the joint military exercise scheduled this month, the Ulchi-Freedom Guardian exercise (an annual drill between the US and ROK) every August will be strengthened there will also be various exercises at different levels in regional waters including the Yellow Sea, the paper stated," the paper quoted a diplomatic source, as saying.

The upcoming US-ROK joint drill is considered to be the largest between the two since 1976. (ANI)

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