Originally the exercises were to take place near the site of the sinking - in international waters off the western coast of North Korea. That area of the Yellow Sea happens to also be off the eastern coast of China so, after some big-time grumbling by Beijing the exercises were switched to the east coast of the Korean peninsula (which is off the west coast of Japan, but Japan doesn't appear to care much).That grumbling was codified into some Chinese finger wagging by the newspaper China Daily which described the Yellow sea as "a sea stripe between China and the Korean Peninsula" and quoted the spokesman for the Chinese Foreign Ministry saying,
"We sternly oppose activities that affect China's security by foreign military vessels or aircraft at the Yellow Sea or in China's offshore waters."
With all these fingers wagging, everyone's interests are being served:
-- South Korea will show North Korea it is under the protection of the United States;
-- The United States will show the world it is still the good guy when it comes to calling out rogue states like North Korea;
-- North Korea will show the world that it won't be cowed by the United States; and,
-- China gets to continue to demonstrate why it, and not Japan, is the country to be reckoned with in the region.
Let's just pray those fingers keep wagging and none get wrapped around a trigger.