China Stages Drills Near Korean Peninsula

The Chinese military has staged massive military exercises around the Korean Peninsula after it declared a new air defense identification zone late last month that partly overlaps with South Korea's and Japan's.

The exercises also came amid reports of the ouster of North Korean eminence grise Jang Song-taek.

The Shenyang Military Region, one of seven military regions in the Chinese People's Liberation Army that would be mobilized in an emergency on the Korean Peninsula, last Wednesday began cold-weather exercises in and around Mt. Baekdu, which marks the border with North Korea, the official Chinese military paper said Saturday.

It said some 3,000 soldiers from the Shenyang Military Region moved to a training ground near Mt. Baekdu, and are practicing to improve their operational capabilities in cold weather and unfamiliar terrain.

"Unlike in previous drills, the troops did not conduct any on-site survey or adaptation training for the ongoing exercises," the daily added. "They will change areas of training continuously to improve their skills in real combat."

A train loaded with Chinese tanks heads for Mt. Baekdu for winter drills on Friday. /Peoples Liberation Army Daily A train loaded with Chinese tanks heads for Mt. Baekdu for winter drills on Friday. /People's Liberation Army Daily

At the same time, the Chinese Navy is carrying out live fire drills in Bohai Bay and the West Sea across the Korean Peninsula, the South China Morning Post in Hong Kong reported Saturday.

The drills, which will continue until Friday, are the first in the northern seas since China declared the new air defense zone in the East China Sea. It waged similar drills in the area on Nov. 15-22, right before declaring the zone, the Hong Kong daily said.

Meanwhile, the Jinan Military Region mobilized some 20,000 troops from the Army, Navy, Air Force and missile units for drills on the Shandong Peninsula close to South Korea and Japan, Hong Kong's Oriental Daily News reported Sunday.

"The troops conducted night live fire exercises mobilizing a military reconnaissance satellite," the daily said without specifying a date.

englishnews@chosun.com / Dec. 09, 2013 12:24 KST