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 Post subject: New conflict in Korea
PostPosted: Tue Nov 23, 2010 6:40 pm 
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Anyone watching what's going on in Korea?
http://www.csmonitor.com/USA/Foreign-Po ... r-response

Said by some to be most hostile military action since 1953.

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PostPosted: Tue Nov 23, 2010 7:35 pm 
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The day's bombardment is concerning. Is it the worst since hostilities ceased, depends on how you classify torpedoing a ship and 50+ lost versus a bombardment with 2 (?) being lost? It's certainly not good.

We have what 39,000 troops still on the DMZ and if anything happens they are simply a target.

I understand the President declared we will defend South Korea, but what does that really mean?

One day nuclear weapons, the next day bombardment...hmmmm

What comes next?

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PostPosted: Tue Nov 23, 2010 8:05 pm 
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It's all very concerning. I'm not aware of any specific place this is coming from (why not attack when they were being more actively pressed by the famine or on nukes or when feigning injury by criticism about sinking the south korean corvette??) but I do know the "DPRK" has specifically considered attacking when US troops were spread thin by other conflicts. Then again, we're obviously not deserting the pennisula and these theories were floated when negotiators considered withdrawing troops many decades ago, and we've had multiple wars for a while. Maybe they just want to remind the world they're crazy and unpredictable. Maybe it's the increasing stream of defectors somehow. I can't figure out how this could benefit them in relation to the planned handover of the dictatorship to the grandson.

I only hope that China gets its head out of its arse and restrains its neighbor, perhaps because they recognize they have little in common these days and don't want a stream of refugees in southern china.

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PostPosted: Tue Nov 23, 2010 9:35 pm 
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Part of the problem is that the DMZ is a de facto, rather than de juri, boundary dividing hostile factions in what was once a single country. Each Korea claims the other as sovereign territory, and neither fully recognizes the division into two countries. The situation is fairly similar to the North-South boundary during the U.S. Civil War, and also similarly there is not a lot of uniformity in the international community over whether to consider the Korean peninsula as being home to one or two countries.

With all the uncertainly and contention, it is not surprising that there are flare-ups at the DMZ. A little known fact is that deaths of U.S. servicemen in hostile actions has continued to occur after the armistice officially ended the Korean War on July 27, 1953, including 641 U.S. servicemen dying between armistice and January 31, 1955, mostly from hostile actions. Another 98 American servicemen have died of "hostile and combat-related actions" since January 31, 1955, the most recent in 1994, they are named at DMZ Deaths after January 31, 1955.

My father-in-law served in Korea at the DMZ sometime in the 1960s, before serving in the Vietnam War, and had stories about North Koreans occassionally slipping across the line to attack American soldiers. One story that stood out was of his company being dug in at foxholes at the DMZ frontline and waking up one morning to find that North Korean soldiers had managed to silently slip in during the night and kill one of the American soldiers in his foxhole while they slept...they didn't sleep too well after that.

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PostPosted: Wed Nov 24, 2010 2:54 am 
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Those US troops are not a target. They're a speedbump.If NK gets serious and comes through that DMZ, our guys are going to get run over. It'll be up to the Navy, Air Force and Marines to push them back after that.

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PostPosted: Wed Nov 24, 2010 4:59 am 
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Jason Rees wrote:

Those US troops are not a target. They're a speedbump.If NK gets serious and comes through that DMZ, our guys are going to get run over. It'll be up to the Navy, Air Force and Marines to push them back after that.

A war situation will not go well for South Korea - particularly since they technically are still in a state of war while Seoul is living a peacetime economy right near the DMZ. South Korea has everything to lose, and DRNK has little to lose. That's not good
IJ wrote:

I'm not aware of any specific place this is coming from

The excuse was SK military exercises going on nearby. But usually they just rattle sabers. Lobbing missiles is a new expression of displeasure.

One explanation has to do with the change of power from Kim Jong Il to number 3 son. It's not really clear how politics work in their closed society. But one theory has to do with papa Kim showing his military that they are tough enough, and number 3 son is up to the task of leading the nation. It's as good as any other silly explanation I suppose.

The one common thread is that North Korea knows it can shake the region down for cash every few years by threatening to be bad. They need the money to keep their failed political system going. There have been bad crop yield years where the population has been in a state near-starvation.

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PostPosted: Wed Nov 24, 2010 1:28 pm 
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Some news from North Korea, South Korea and Jimmy Carter

News fomr Korean Centrla News Agency of DPRK (Democratic People’s Republic of Korea) http://www.kcna.co.jp/index-e.htm

KPA Supreme Command Issues Communique

Pyongyang, November 23 (KCNA) -- The Supreme Command of the Korean People's Army Tuesday released the following communique:

The south Korean puppet group perpetrated such reckless military provocation as firing dozens of shells inside the territorial waters of the DPRK side around Yonphyong Islet in the West Sea of Korea from 13:00 on Nov. 23 despite the repeated warnings of the DPRK while staging the war maneuvers for a war of aggression on it codenamed Hoguk, escalating the tension on the Korean Peninsula.
The above-said military provocation is part of its sinister attempt to defend the brigandish "northern limit line," while frequently infiltrating its naval warships into the territorial waters of the DPRK side under the pretext of "intercepting fishing boats."

The revolutionary armed forces of the DPRK standing guard over the inviolable territorial waters of the country took such decisive military step as reacting to the military provocation of the puppet group with a prompt powerful physical strike.

It is a traditional mode of counter-action of the army of the DPRK to counter the firing of the provocateurs with merciless strikes.

Should the south Korean puppet group dare intrude into the territorial waters of the DPRK even 0.001 mm, the revolutionary armed forces of the DPRK will unhesitatingly continue taking merciless military counter-actions against it.

It should bear in mind the solemn warning of the revolutionary armed forces of the DPRK that they do not make an empty talk.

There is in the West Sea of Korea only the maritime military demarcation line set by the DPRK.

http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2010/no ... orth-korea

South Koreans wake up to possibility of attack on capital
North Korea's bombing of an obscure island has shaken the people of Seoul out of their complacency

The surprise artillery attack on an obscure island held by South Korea since the Korean war in the 1950s sent shock waves through a civilian population in Seoul that has often been complacent about the threat from its northern neighbour.

South Koreans seem suddenly to have woken up to a reality many had overlooked during the years of their "economic miracle" – it can happen here.
"People are saying we cannot escape if they attack us in Seoul," said Lee Tae-kyun, a teacher, watching scenes of smoke spiralling from houses and shops on tiny Yeonpyeong island, home to about 1,200 farmers and fishermen.

Kim Ki-yun, a taxi driver, agreed. If there was a major attack on the capital, he said, "we cannot escape, we will all die. It's impossible to get out of Seoul as it was during the Korean war. It is too crowded. There will be too much traffic and no escape route."

As about 80 buildings went up in flames, South Koreans learned the island has only one fire engine and there was nothing to do but let the fires burn out and hope the North Koreans would not open fire again. Villagers who had not managed to get out by boat to the port of Incheon, 40 miles to the east, were spending an uneasy night in hastily dug bunkers.

The reality that North Korea is now ready to attack a civilian rather than just a military target was the greatest lesson of a day in which North Korean gunners pumped out 100 rounds. By the time the smoke had cleared, two South Korean marines were dead and a score more people, including several civilians, were injured.

That toll was minor compared to the number killed when a North Korean midget submarine fired a torpedo at the South Korean navy corvette the Cheonan in March, splitting it in two and killing 46 South Korean sailors. The fact that civilians had come under fire, however, made all the difference to people who had tended to shrug off even the Cheonan incident as a military clash that would not affect most people.

"People are shocked," said office worker Kim Youn-suk . "It's a kind of a war. People are worrying the financial markets will crash tomorrow."

The timing was significant – on the first day of South Korean exercises that North Korea has pledged to crush with "relentless retaliation."

North Korea claimed the attack was provoked by South Korea for firing first and intruding in its waters. The issue is the NLL, Northern Limit Line, set by the UN Command three years after the Korean War, marking the line in the Yellow sea below which North Korean boats are banned.
North Korea has been challenging the line for many years, most dramatically in June1999 when South and North Korean vessels clashed and a North Korean vessel was sunk, and again in June 2002 when a North Korean vessel fired on a South Korean boat, killing six sailors.
The confrontation worsened in November of last year when a South Korean navy corvette sent a North Korean vessel back to port "in flames" with loss of life – though no one knows for sure how many casualties were inflicted. It was in retaliation for that incident presumably that North Korea staged the meticulously planned attack on the Cheonan.
The question for many though is whether South Korea's president, Lee Myung-bak, is prepared to make good on his threat of "retaliation" if North Korea attacks again during the current military exercises.

"People are saying we cannot escape, we will all die," said taxi driver Kim Ki-yun. "We might as well die in Seoul. It's impossible to get out of Seoul as it was during the Korean war. It is too crowded. There will be too much traffic and no escape route."But then there was the contrasting view that it can't really happen here. "People don't think there will be a real war," said Chang Sung-hee, shopping in a supermarket. "They're saying it's another incident."

"The government stance is this will not lead to war," said Park Weon-sun, a shopkeeper in central Seoul, as people crowded around a TV screen in his shop. "Koreans tend to be more complacent than they should be. I don't think it has yet really shaken them out of their complacency."
More attacks, though, might well have that effect. "Nobody I know has an escape plan," said Park. "At first everyone was shocked, but now they are going about business as usual." Sooner or later, he said, "people will realise, it can happen to you."

http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/co ... inionsbox1

North Korea's consistent message to the U.S.
By Jimmy Carter

Wednesday, November 24, 2010
Dealing effectively with North Korea has long challenged the United States. We know that the state religion of this secretive society is "juche," which means self-reliance and avoidance of domination by others. The North's technological capabilities under conditions of severe sanctions and national poverty are surprising. Efforts to display its military capability through the shelling of Yeongpyeong and weapons tests provoke anger and a desire for retaliation. Meanwhile, our close diplomatic and military ties with South Korea make us compliant with its leaders' policies.

The North has threatened armed conflict before. Nearly eight years ago, I wrote on this page about how in June 1994 President Kim Il Sung expelled International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) inspectors and proclaimed that spent fuel rods could be reprocessed into plutonium. Kim threatened to destroy Seoul if increasingly severe sanctions were imposed on his nation.
Desiring to resolve the crisis through direct talks with the United States, Kim invited me to Pyongyang to discuss the outstanding issues. With approval from President Bill Clinton, I went, and reported the positive results of these one-on-one discussions to the White House. Direct negotiations ensued in Geneva between a U.S. special envoy and a North Korean delegation, resulting in an "agreed framework" that stopped North Korea's fuel-cell reprocessing and restored IAEA inspection for eight years.
With evidence that Pyongyang was acquiring enriched uranium in violation of the agreed framework, President George W. Bush - who had already declared North Korea part of an "axis of evil" and a potential target - made discussions with North Korea contingent on its complete rejection of a nuclear explosives program and terminated monthly shipments of fuel oil. Subsequently, North Korea expelled nuclear inspectors and resumed reprocessing its fuel rods. It has acquired enough plutonium for perhaps seven nuclear weapons.

Sporadic negotiations over the next few years among North Korea, the United States, South Korea, Japan, China and Russia (the six parties) produced, in September 2005, an agreement that reaffirmed the basic premises of the 1994 accord. Its text included denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula, a pledge of non-aggression by the United States and steps to evolve a permanent peace agreement to replace the U.S.-North Korean-Chinese cease-fire that has been in effect since July 1953. Unfortunately, no substantive progress has been made since 2005, and the overall situation has been clouded by North Korea's development and testing of nuclear devices and medium- and long-range missiles, and military encounters with South Korea.

North Korea insists on direct talks with the United States. Leaders in Pyongyang consider South Korea's armed forces to be controlled from Washington and maintain that South Korea was not party to the 1953 cease-fire. Since the Clinton administration, our country has negotiated through the six-party approach, largely avoiding substantive bilateral discussions, which would have excluded South Korea.

This past July I was invited to return to Pyongyang to secure the release of an American, Aijalon Gomes, with the proviso that my visit would last long enough for substantive talks with top North Korean officials. They spelled out in detail their desire to develop a denuclearized Korean Peninsula and a permanent cease-fire, based on the 1994 agreements and the terms adopted by the six powers in September 2005. With no authority to mediate any disputes, I relayed this message to the State Department and White House. Chinese leaders indicated support of this bilateral discussion.

North Korean officials have given the same message to other recent American visitors and have permitted access by nuclear experts to an advanced facility for purifying uranium. The same officials had made it clear to me that this array of centrifuges would be "on the table" for discussions with the United States, although uranium purification - a very slow process - was not covered in the 1994 agreements.

Pyongyang has sent a consistent message that during direct talks with the United States, it is ready to conclude an agreement to end its nuclear programs, put them all under IAEA inspection and conclude a permanent peace treaty to replace the "temporary" cease-fire of 1953. We should consider responding to this offer. The unfortunate alternative is for North Koreans to take whatever actions they consider necessary to defend themselves from what they claim to fear most: a military attack supported by the United States, along with efforts to change the political regime.

The writer was the 39th president of the United States.

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PostPosted: Wed Nov 24, 2010 8:51 pm 
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Bill I hadn't originally thought of the grandson issue because it doesn't make any sense, but then reading it here and elsewhere I am reminded the DPRK makes no sense and it is probably the reason. I had been thinking that their staging a conflict to claim he had a role and was leadership worthy would ring hollow to the military which of course knows the kid has no qualifications. Wouldn't THEY be the threat to his ascension? I found this online (aljazeera and huffington post--thanks bing :roll: )

"One of the most worrying scenarios is that Monday's artillery attack, and the sinking of the corvette Cheonan in March, were not approved by Kim Jong-il, but were the work of disaffected groups in the military who are increasingly acting on their own.

This theory is supported by Christopher Hill, former US envoy to North Korea, who says the North Korean military is unhappy about Kim Jong-un's planned succession and is driving events without direction from Kim Jong-il.

"With the ongoing leadership transition in North Korea, there have been rumors of discontent within the military, and the current actions may reflect miscommunications or worse," Hill said."

If they were hoping to impress the people, eh, we'll see. Many of the people now have chinese cell phones and get illegal southern TV. This is one reason the refugee flood has increased recently. They know what they're missing and they know their leaders are psycho.

I wish it were the nuts who starved, but instead they hand off that consequence to people with no say in the matter.

China, anything constructive? All I can find suggests they don't really care....

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/eric-c-an ... 09115.html
"In July 1996, Russian scholars asked Chinese analysts what would happen if war broke out on the Korean Peninsula. The Chinese response was unanimous: "We'll stay away from that war." The Russians then asked "suppose the Americans participate in the conflict and overrun the North Korean positions and advance to the border of the PRC?" The Chinese response was stunning, "so what? The United States would never dare to attack China....why would the Americans want to attack us?""

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PostPosted: Thu Nov 25, 2010 7:22 pm 
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China knows it has a dysfunctional country with starving civilians at its border. Their economy is now booming while DPRK is floundering (at best), and the US is China's biggest customer. Just as Cuba serves no useful purpose to the Soviet Union any more, so DPRK no longer is useful as the crazy neighbor of China.

China's biggest worry? Millions of refugees flooding their country. It will be Mexico illegal immigration on steroids. If we were dumb enough to get caught up in this - and there is a chance we would - then we'd get bogged down trying to create a government and a new political structure in a population with serious resource issues. China knows it would keep us off the streets for a very, very long time. And they could lap us economically in the process.

It would behoove the Japanese to get involved here - as they have on myriad negotiations. They don't really want to go nuclear, nor do any of their neighbors who remember what it was like to be abused by Imperial Japan. But Japan could in a heartbeat. They'd very much like to see a peaceful North Korea (or unified Korea) so they can get on with their desire to dominate various economic (rather than military) endeavors.

- Bill


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PostPosted: Sun Nov 28, 2010 7:36 am 
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Bill Glasheen wrote:
South Korea has everything to lose, and DRNK has little to lose. That's not good


That doesn't tell the full story though, it's too one sided. South Korea has a LOT to lose, as the 14th largest economy in the world. The world has a lot to lose since 5 of the top 20 largest economies are directly involved in this.

South Korea and the world have a lot to lose. North Korea literally has everything to lose. They get to pull the trump card exactly once. Sure they bring down the world economy when they throw it, but the guys throwing the cards cease to exist afterwards. A lot of people want to peg NK actions as totally unstable, but they have to keep bluffing enough to get fuel, energy, food, child pornography, etc. for free while not killing themselves.

So hopefully it's not one suicidal maniac making the call for the several people living pretty off UN aid shipments in NK.


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PostPosted: Sun Nov 28, 2010 4:48 pm 
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TSDguy wrote:

So hopefully it's not one suicidal maniac making the call for the several people living pretty off UN aid shipments in NK.

I'm not much into the hopey changey thing. (With apologies to Sarah Palin) I believe you make your own luck in life.

Think about it. Saddam Hussein ALMOST got away with annexing Kuwait, and was another short march away from getting Saudi Arabia into his kingdom. To save Kuwait, we had to let Saddam's henchmen burn it down on the way out. Fortunately for them, there was enough oil money to rebuild the country.

South Korea could be taken over just as easily. Seoul is too close to the DMZ, and taking over the rest of the country is no big deal. They've been building up for this kind of invasion for a generation while their neighbor from the south has been busy getting rich on capitalism. Once the deed is done, the one country crazy enough to get involved is bogged down in two nation-building excursions. And China just may give a wink and a nod. They'll be more concerned about beefing up their border with Korea to keep the refugees from flooding their own economic miracle. They'd have their propaganda machine working overtime pleading the rest of the world for restraint. Meanwhile... No more South Korea to compete against. And the combined Korea could possibly be manipulated for their global gain. It's sort of like being a samurai and having your ninjas do the dirty work that you don't want to be associated with.

This in my opinion is a classic mathematical chaos situation. There's no predicting where it will go. We were fortunate to get through The Cold War without a head-to-head conflict. Re-run that experiment many times, and you don't get the same good outcome.

All that said... There's a side of me that shares your cynicism. The leaders of the DPRK are masters at international pick-pocketing. They fleece their own people, and fleece the outside world as well. In a way you have to admire them for what they've accomplished - however evil their actions. Hitler as well had a genius side to him. However not everyone appreciates how he used those talents.

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PostPosted: Sun Nov 28, 2010 9:48 pm 
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North Korea has definitely caused a dilemma for China by undermining some of Beijing's ability to keep U.S. warsips out of the Yellow Sea. China is likely very unhappy about this and now in a position of having to balance its reactions to North Korea on the one hand and the U.S. and South Korea on the other, particularly since China has good reasons not to upset relations with the latter two if possible.

Quote:
US carrier visit a dilemma for China
By CHRISTOPHER BODEEN, Associated Press Christopher Bodeen, Associated Press – Fri Nov 26, 10:32 am ET

BEIJING – This weekend's arrival of a U.S. aircraft carrier in the Yellow Sea poses a dilemma for Beijing: Should it protest angrily and aggravate ties with Washington, or quietly accept the presence of a key symbol of American military pre-eminence off Chinese shores?

The USS George Washington, accompanied by escort ships, is to take part in military drills with South Korea following North Korea's shelling of a South Korean island Tuesday that was one of the most serious confrontations since the Korean War a half-century ago.

It's a scenario China has sought to prevent. Only four months ago, Chinese officials and military officers shrilly warned Washington against sending a carrier into the Yellow Sea for an earlier set of exercises. Some said it would escalate tensions after the sinking of a South Korean navy ship blamed on North Korea. Others went further, calling the carrier deployment a threat to Chinese security.

Beijing believes its objections worked. Although Washington never said why, no aircraft carrier sailed into the strategic Yellow Sea, which laps at several Chinese provinces and the Korean peninsula.

This time around, with outrage high over the shelling, the U.S. raising pressure on China to rein in wayward ally North Korea, and a Chinese-American summit in the works, the warship is coming, and Beijing is muffling any criticisms.

"One of the results of North Korea's most recent belligerence has been to make it more difficult for China to condemn U.S. naval deployments in the East China Sea," said Michael Richardson, a visiting research fellow at Singapore's Institute of Southeast Asian Studies. "I think China must be quietly cursing North Korea under their breath."

China's response has so far been limited to expressing mild concern over the exercises. A Foreign Ministry spokesman on Friday reiterated Beijing's long-standing insistence that foreign navies obtain its permission before undertaking military operations inside China's exclusive economic zone, which extends 230 miles (370 kilometers) from its coast.

It wasn't clear where the drills were being held or if they would cross into the Chinese zone.

The statement also reiterated calls for calm and restraint but did not directly mention the Yellow Sea or the planned exercises.

State media have been virtually silent. An editorial in the nationalistic tabloid Global Times worried that a U.S. carrier would upset the delicate balance in the Yellow Sea, ignoring the fact that the George Washington has taken part in drills in those waters numerous times before.

North Korea, by contrast, warned Friday that the U.S.-South Korean military drills were pushing the peninsula to the "brink of war."

A more passive approach this time helps Beijing raise its credibility with Washington and trading partner South Korea, and puts North Korea on notice that its actions are wearing China's patience thin.

"The Chinese government is trying to send Pyongyang a signal that if they continue to be so provocative, China will just leave the North Koreans to themselves," said Zhu Feng, director of Peking University's Center for International and Strategic Studies.

Sending signals is likely to be as far as Beijing goes, however. China fears that tougher action — say cutting the food and fuel assistance Beijing supplies — would destabilize the isolated North Korean dictatorship, possibly leading to its collapse. That could send floods of refugees into northeastern China and result in a pro-U.S. government taking over in the North.

"What China should do is make the North Koreans feel that they have got to stop messing around," Zhu said.

China may also be mindful of its relations with key trading partner Seoul, strained by Beijing's reluctance to condemn Pyongyang over the March ship sinking. Raising a clamor over upcoming drills in the wake of a national tragedy would only further alienate South Korea.

Beijing's mild tone also shows its reluctance to spoil the atmosphere ahead of renewed exchanges with Washington. President Hu Jintao is scheduled to make a state visit to Washington in January hosted by President Barack Obama — replete with a state dinner and other formal trappings that President George W. Bush never gave the Chinese leader.

Before that Gen. Ma Xiaotian, one of the commanders who objected to the George Washington's deployment earlier this year, is due in Washington for defense consultations. Those talks are another step in restoring tattered defense ties, a key goal of the Obama administration.

Chinese fixations about aircraft carriers verge on the visceral. U.S. carriers often figure in Chinese media as a symbol of the American government's ability to project power around the world. The Chinese navy is building a carrier, and keeping U.S. ones out of China's waters is seen as rightful deference to its growing power.

The U.S. is worried about a key principle: the U.S. Navy's right to operate in international waters.

While China doesn't claim sovereignty over the entire Yellow Sea, it has become assertive about its maritime territorial claims and sensitive to U.S. Navy operations in surrounding waters. In the South China Sea, which China claims in its entirety, China has seized foreign fishing boats and harassed U.S. Navy surveillance ships.

In light of such trends, China's protests of the September drills virtually compelled the U.S. Navy to send the George Washington this time, said Alan Romberg of the Stimson Center think tank in Washington, who met with Chinese military commanders in the summer.

"The People's Liberation Army thinks it achieved an initial victory in keeping the U.S. from deploying the George Washington in that first exercise. That guarantees that the George Washington will go there at some point, probably sooner rather than later," Romberg said in an interview in September.

Even if China's reticence holds this time, Beijing is not likely to cede the U.S. Navy carte blanche to range throughout the Yellow Sea.

Foreign Ministry spokesman Hong Lei has stated that China's stance on U.S. naval action in the Yellow Sea remains unchanged. The politically influential and increasingly vocal military is also likely to keep the pressure on the leadership to take a firm stand.

Any affront to Beijing's authority or intrusion into Chinese territorial waters would inflame the Chinese public and require a government response, said Fang Xiuyu, an analyst on Korean issues at Fudan University's Institute of International Studies in Shanghai.

"We hope that the U.S. can exert restraint and not cross that line," Fang said.

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