- The Washington Times - Thursday, August 12, 2010

CHINA

Military condemns S. Korean-U.S. drills

BEIJING | China’s military is condemning a second round of U.S.-South Korean naval drills planned in the Yellow Sea in the coming weeks and vowing it will respond in kind.

The military’s newspaper published an editorial on the drills Thursday. The People’s Liberation Army Daily says actions by foreign military ships and planes in waters near its coast could “affect China’s security interests.”

China repeatedly has criticized the drills, saying they risk heightening tensions on the Korean Peninsula. Although the Yellow Sea consists mostly of international waters, China regards it as lying within its vaguely defined security perimeter.

The expected participation of the aircraft carrier USS George Washington is particularly irksome to China because of its status as a symbol of U.S. power in the Pacific and the possibility of its F-18 warplanes flying within range of Beijing.

AFGHANISTAN

Claims of civilian deaths spark protest

KABUL | A crowd of about 300 villagers yelled “Death to the United States” and blocked a main road in eastern Afghanistan on Thursday as they swore that U.S. forces had killed three innocent villagers, officials said.

NATO forces rejected the claim, saying they had killed several suspected insurgents and detained a local Taliban commander in the overnight raid.

The gulf between the two accounts is a reminder of how sensitive every NATO operation in Afghanistan has become. In Taliban-heavy areas, it is hard to distinguish villagers from insurgents, and sometimes public opinion turns against coalition forces even when they say they are certain they targeted the correct people.

PAKISTAN

U.S. Marine choppers join flood relief

ISLAMABAD | Two U.S. Marine helicopters arrived in Pakistan Thursday to join relief and rescue operations in areas hit by massive floods in the country’s worst catastrophe, the U.S. embassy said.

The two aircraft are the first of 19 extra helicopters Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates urgently ordered to Pakistan on Wednesday, it said.

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