August 30, 2010 11:44
The Chinese Navy will conduct training in the West Sea using live ammunition from Wednesday to Saturday, China's Ministry of Defense said Sunday. Beijing said the naval exercise will be held off the coastal city of Qingdao ahead of joint anti-submarine drills planned by South Korea and the U.S. in the West Sea in September.
China has voiced strong opposition against the naval drills on its own doorstep and threatened its own war games in response. But China's Defense Ministry said the drill is "an annual routine" mainly involving the firing of shipboard artillery.
Meanwhile, Admiral Robert Willard, commander of the U.S. Pacific Command, during a visit to Japan last week said China's anti-ship ballistic missile, known as the "carrier killer," is close to becoming operational. According to Hong Kong's South China Morning Post, Willard said the weapon, which "has undergone repeated tests" is "probably close to being operational." But he added, "We have not allowed the development of these capabilities and capacities to deter our right to navigate in international waters in areas around China."
Hong Kong and Chinese media reported that China has built two strategic missile bases in Guangdong Province and plans to deploy the state-of-the-art Dongfeng-21C and Dongfeng-21D missiles there soon. The Dongfeng-21D, which has a longer range than the 1,800 km Dongfeng-21C, would place 70 percent of the South China Sea within its reach, which includes disputed areas.
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