Tuesday, December 05, 2017

Message Received

China carried out a large air exercise in the Yellow Sea and Sea of Japan (East Sea)*:

Beijing-based military expert Li Jie said the drills were intended to show that the People’s Liberation Army Air Force was making strides in joint operations, which are an important part of modern warfare.

He added that Monday’s announcement was also aimed at sending a message to the United States and South Korea.

“The timing of this high-profile announcement by the PLA is also a warning to Washington and Seoul not to provoke Pyongyang any further,” Li said.

Was the message "hands off North Korea?"

Is China really sending a message to America and South Korea that they should not threaten North Korea over Kim Jong-un's nuclear program? Really?

The message is that China is ready to support all measures short of actually stopping North Korea?

Or was the exercise a message to Washington and Seoul that China is ready for its part in a multi-national strike campaign against North Korea's nuclear weapons sites that China is prepared to join?

Operating in the seas would mean they demonstrate the ability to fly a certain distance south that if over land would cover parts of North Korea.

I don't know what the message is, obviously. But I think the question of what message was sent is valid.

*One question: the article initially mentions the Yellow Sea and East Sea--which for the latter would mean Chinese planes likely would have to fly over Russia or North Korea. Which seems unlikely to me.

Later the article mentions exercises over the East China Sea. This wouldn't be the first time that an article mixes up the East Sea (South Korea's name for the Sea of Japan) with the East China Sea.

Or was the exercise geographically larger than just the Korean peninsula region?