The Chinese military is sending a signal that it will honor its security arrangement with North Korea if the U.S. and South Korea launch a preemptive strike to take out Pyongyang’s nuclear weapons infrastructure and leadership.

One military expert said the drills were intended to reinforce Beijing’s intent to uphold a “balance of power” in the region.

The Chinese exercise in the Yellow and East seas near the Korean peninsula follow the launch of joint drills by the US and South Korea involving dozens of stealth jets and the simulation of precision attacks on the North’s military installations.

Chinese Air Force spokesman Shen Jinke announced the exercises on social media Monday, saying that military aircraft “arrived in air lanes and regions that we have never been to before.”

Wei Dongxu, a Beijing-based military analyst, said the drills were designed as a warning to the South Korean and U.S. military that they would be expelled from Chinese airspace.

“China is showing that it can uphold the balance of power in the region,” he said. [source]

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