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China holds military drill as North Korea tensions rise
by Staff Writers
Beijing (AFP) Sept 6, 2017


India's army chief says China 'testing limits' after stand-off
New Delhi (AFP) Sept 7, 2017 - India's army chief has said his country must be prepared for war and accused China of "testing our limits", days after the nuclear-armed neighbours ended one of their worst border stand-offs in decades.

General Bipin Rawat said India could not afford to be complacent and should be prepared for the possibility of an all-out war.

"As far as our northern adversary is concerned, flexing of muscles has started," Rawat said late Wednesday at a Delhi-based think-tank, in reference to China.

"The salami slicing, taking over territory in a very gradual manner... testing our limits of threshold is something we have to be wary about and remain prepared for situations which could gradually emerge into conflict."

"Whether these conflicts will be confined or limited in space and time or whether these can expand into an all-out war along the entire front (remains to be seen)," the Army chief said.

India and China went to war in 1962 over the state of Arunachal Pradesh.

Last month, the two nations withdrew their troops to resolve a tense deadlock over part of a Himalayan plateau claimed by both China and Bhutan, an ally of India.

Rawat also said India's arch rival Pakistan -- an ally of China -- was likely to take advantage of the tensions.

"The western adversary taking advantage of the situation developing along the northern border is very much likely," he said.

Pakistan and India have fought three wars since independence, two of them over the disputed region of Kashmir, which both claim in full.

China's air force conducted military drills in seas adjacent to the Korean peninsula, an official report has said, as tensions soared over North Korea's pursuit of nuclear weaponry.

The defence battalion simulated warding off a "low-altitude, surprise" attack off China's east coast, and practised defending against "nuclear and biological weapons", according to China Military Online, the news website of the Chinese army.

The purpose of the drill in the Bohai Gulf early Tuesday was not immediately clear.

It came after Pyongyang on Sunday triggered global alarm with its most powerful nuclear blast to date, claiming to have successfully tested a hydrogen bomb.

Song Zhongping, an independent defence and foreign affairs analyst, said the drill was likely unrelated to the situation on the Korean peninsula.

"The Chinese navy is currently focused on improving its defence capabilities, therefore paying more attention to developing anti-missile capability," Song told AFP.

China has for some time been engaged in a modernisation of its once-backward armed forces, seeking military clout commensurate with its economic might, a drive that has caused unease among its regional neighbours.

Foreign ministry spokesman Geng Shuang said at a regular news briefing in Beijing on Wednesday that he had no information on the drill.

Analysts say North Korea's escalating nuclear provocations are putting putative ally China in an increasing bind and may be part of a strategy to twist Beijing's arm into orchestrating direct talks between Pyongyang and Washington.

China has consistently railed against recurring US-South Korean war games that are directed at deterring a North Korean attack, but which China blames for fanning regional tensions.

South Korea had responded to the North's nuclear test by saying it was strengthening its defences, in part by deploying more US-made Terminal High-Altitude Area Defense (THAAD) missile launchers.

The deployment has infuriated China, which has long argued it will destabilise the region and has retaliated against Seoul through unofficial economic sanctions.

The South also carried out an early-morning volley of ballistic missiles Monday simulating an attack on the North's nuclear test site, followed Tuesday by naval drills.

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Putin denies Kremlin trying to silence top director
Xiamen, China (AFP) Sept 5, 2017
Russian President Vladimir Putin on Tuesday insisted Moscow was not looking to muzzle an acclaimed director, currently under house arrest as part of a controversial fraud case. Top theatre and film director Kirill Serebrennikov was charged last month with defrauding the state of over $1.1 million (900,000 euros) in arts funding and confined to his residence until October 19. The direct ... read more

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