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The U.S. edition of the state-owned China Daily newspaper reported on June 29:
The People’s Liberation Army (PLA) will launch a six-day, live ammunition drill starting on Wednesday in the East China Sea, a move that analysts said is in response to a joint exercise between the United States and Republic of Korea (ROK) navies in the Yellow Sea. The PLA decision was issued on June 24 and posted on major Chinese websites on Monday, when the US-ROK drill was scheduled to start…. But the ROK navy announced on Monday that their joint maneuver has been postponed to July.
The paper cited Shi Yinhong, a senior expert on American studies at Renmin University in Beijing, who stated, “Though the Chinese government did not say anything about the drill, anybody with common sense on military strategy will bet that they are related…. Any large country has its bottom line for military vigilance and pride. The US-ROK drill has drawn angry response from the Chinese public and I think that is one reason behind its delay.” Apparently, American pride is not as strong as Chinese, as the U.S. Navy seems to have retreated in the face of the Chinese protest and counter-exercise.
On June 28, North Korea threatened to bolster its nuclear capability to cope with what it said is a hostile United States. Earlier, it had warned all shipping away from its Yellow Sea coast. It was thought that Pyongyang might conduct anti-ship missile tests in the days before the planned U.S.-ROK naval exercise as its own show of force.
Meanwhile, North Korea’s other ally, Russia, is commencing on June 29 the largest military exercises it has conducted in the Far East in 15 years. The land, sea and air maneuvers will place Russian warships near the Sea of Japan. Earlier, a team of Russian experts had issued a report claiming that there was no credible evidence that the North Koreans had sunk the Cheonan. Moscow also worked to weaken the statement issued at the G8 summit condemning North Korea for the attack.
Kim Myong Chol, who is billed as an “unofficial” spokesman of Kim Jong-il and North Korea, claimed in a column for Asia Times that China has been circulating a report that the South Korean corvette had actually been sunk by an American mine and North Korea was only being blamed as part of a “false flag” operation to stir up tensions. Kim said the Chinese “leaked” the report to New America Media, which claims to be the “largest national collaboration and advocate of 2000 ethnic news organizations.” There it appeared as a column by Yoichi Shimatsu, a former editor of the Japan Times, now an environmental consultant and a commentator for CCTV-9, an international television network run by the Beijing regime.
The Chinese disinformation story is now making the rounds of left-wing websites including Online Journal, Dissident Voice, War Is A Crime (formerly After Downing Street), and the Baltimore Chronicle and Sentinel where the sinking is compared to other alleged “false flags” like the sinking of the battleship Maine, the invited assault on Pearl Harbor, the Gulf of Tonkin incident, and the 9/11 attacks.
Beijing is thus doing much more in regard to North Korea than President Barack Obama charged at the G20 meeting when he said China was simply “turning a blind eye” to Pyongyang’s provocations. Beijing is bringing to bear its diplomatic, military and propaganda resources to defend North Korea as it has always done. And under this onslaught, Washington it falling back in disarray.
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