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S Korea to hold naval drill with US despite China's protest

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SEOUL (AFP): South Korea said on Friday it would stage a naval exercise with the United States in the Yellow Sea to deter North Korean “provocation”, despite strong protests from China about the drill.

“The date and methods have not yet been decided but the South Korea-US joint military exercise will be carried out,” said defence ministry spokesman Won Tae-Jae.

“The joint exercise in the Yellow Sea is being planned as North Korea carried out an illegal provocation, the sinking of the Cheonan.”

The South, citing the findings of a multinational investigation, accuses the North of torpedoing the warship in March with the loss of 46 lives. The North angrily denies responsibility.

China warned the United States and South Korea on Thursday against holding the war games near its waters, and urged them not to worsen tensions with its ally North Korea.

“China has expressed its serious concerns with relevant parties,” said foreign ministry spokesman Qin Gang in Beijing.

“We are firmly opposed to foreign military vessels engaging in activities that undermine China's security interests in the Yellow Sea or waters close to China.”

The drill was originally set for last month but was delayed until the UN Security Council wrapped up discussions on the sinking.

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S Korea  US  naval drill  
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