The Chinese air force has conducted drills near the Korean Peninsula to defend against a “surprise attack” over sea, according to a state-run military website www.81.cn.
On Tuesday, an anti-aircraft defense battalion set off for the Bohai Sea, the innermost gulf of the Yellow Sea that separates China from the peninsula. There, it tested unidentified weapons to shoot down low-altitude targets. The website also noted that “The troops rapid response capabilities and actual combat levels have effectively been tested.”
The drills come days following North Korea’s testing of an advanced hydrogen bomb, the sixth and largest nuclear weapons test to date. The move comes amid rising international concern that the often volatile leaders of the country are close to mounting a nuclear warhead on an intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM).
In the meantime, the United States has discussed deployment of anti-aircraft carriers and strategic bombers with its ally South Korea. However, North Korean ally China has expressed concern about U.S.-South Korean drills and contempt toward Washington’s deployment of an anti-missile defense system in the South.
However, China’s relations with the North have been also been tested in recent months following North Korea’s missile launches and the United States’ calls for mounting pressure on the nuclear armed state.