China’s Air Force has carried out exercises near the Korean Peninsula, practising to defend against a “surprise attack” coming over the sea, Chinese state media says.
The exercises came days after North Korea’s sixth, and most-powerful nuclear test fuelled global concern the isolated nation planned more weapons tests, possibly of a long-range missile.
An anti-aircraft defence battalion held the exercises early on Tuesday, near the Bohai Sea, the innermost gulf of the Yellow Sea that separates China from the Korean Peninsula, an official military website, www.81.cn, said.
Troops travelled to the site from central China before immediately beginning drills to fend off the “surprise attack” simulating real battle, it said.
“The troops’ rapid response capabilities and actual combat levels have effectively been tested.”
It was the first time certain weapons, which the website did not identify, had been used to shoot down low-altitude targets coming over the sea, the military website said, without elaborating.
The drills “do not target any particular goal or country”, and were part of an annual plan intended to boost the troops’ capability, China’s Defence Ministry said on its website, in a response to media.
After weeks of rising tension over North Korea’s actions, South Korea and the United States have been discussing the deployment of aircraft carriersand strategic bombers to the Korean Peninsula.
China is deeply suspicious of any US-backed military build-up in the region, and has repeatedly expressed anger at the deployment of a US anti-missile defence system in South Korea.
China’s Commerce Ministry said it would continue to handle North Korean trade issues in a way that benefited peace, stability and denuclearisation on the Korean Peninsula.
Ministry spokesman Gao Feng made the comment at a routine media briefing.