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Pentagon says likely to hold naval exercise in Yellow Sea with ROK

07-15-2010 08:59 BJT

WASHINGTON, July 14 (Xinhua) -- U.S. Defense Department on Wednesday said the United States and the Republic of Korea (ROK) are likely to hold a joint naval exercise in the Yellow Sea.

Pentagon Spokesman Geoff Morrell said the war game will be the topic of high level meetings next week in Seoul. He said Defense Secretary Robert Gates and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton will meet their South Korean counterparts to "discuss and likely approve a proposed series of USD/ROK combined military exercises, including new naval and air exercises in both the Sea of Japan and the Yellow Sea."

Morrell claimed the exercises are defensive, but "will send a clear message of deterrence" to the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK).

Seoul confirmed earlier it would hold a joint naval exercise with the United States in the Yellow Sea. Lee Bung-woo, the head of the press office at the Joint Chiefs of Staff of the ROK, said on Tuesday that the naval drill might be conducted after the UN Security Council takes action over the sinking of the ROK frigate Cheonan.

Seoul announced in May that the navy warship was torpedoed by a submarine of the DPRK, but Pyongyang immediately denied involvement, saying the investigation results were fabricated.

China, meanwhile, said on Thursday it firmly opposes any foreign warships or planes entering the Yellow Sea as well as adjacent waters that were engaged in activities that would impact on its security and interests.

Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Qin Gang said China has expressed serious concern to the relevant parties, calling on them to exercise calm and refrain from doing things that might escalate tensions in the region.

Editor:Jin Lin |Source: Xinhua

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