BEIJING - China held a military drill in the Yellow Sea over the weekend, state media said, shortly before Washington and Seoul are expected to approve joint military exercises for a nearby area.
Four rescue helicopters and four rescue ships were deployed in the two-day drill, organised by the General Logistics Department of the People's Liberation Army, and the Office of Transport and Combat Readiness, the official Xinhua agency said.
Troops from Jinan Military Region and staff from Ministry of Transport also took part in the exercises, which started on Saturday in the Yellow Sea.
One part of the drill rehearsed how to defend against sudden long-distance attacks, Xinhua said.
It also explored ways to integrate troops and civilians to tackle emergencies, Xinhua cited Zuo Xiaohu, a drill commander and transport director for the Jinan Military Region saying.
Xinhua did not mention the delayed U.S.-Korean exercises, which are expected to be approved soon and would take place in the Yellow Sea and the Sea of Japan.
But the official China Daily quoted experts saying the Chinese drill was small and routine.
"The nature of the drill is very different from that of the US-ROK joint military action," Beijing-based military analyst Peng Guangqian was quoted saying.
"The scale of the weekend exercise was quite small as it was co-organised by the Logistics Department, which is in charge of equipment transportation."
Tensions in the Korean Peninsula have risen to new heights since the sinking in March of a South Korean warship that killed 46 sailors. An investigation launched by Seoul but including international experts, found that a torpedo fired by a North Korean submarine had hit the ship.
North Korea has denied responsibility and long-time ally China has not accepted the findings of the investigation. Pyongyang this month escaped censure from the United Nations, which condemned the attack but did not blame North Korea.
China has said it is opposed to the U.S.-South Korean drills.
"We resolutely oppose any activities in the Yellow Sea that may threaten China's security," Chinese foreign ministry spokesman Qin Gang told a routine news conference last Thursday when asked about the planned exercises.