China Also Pulls out of Korean Fleet Review

中央日報
Korean Navy ships rehearse for the International Fleet Review in waters off Jeju on Tuesday, ahead of the main event on Thursday.

China on Wednesday canceled a plan to send a 7,100-ton destroyer to the International Fleet Review on Jeju Island on Thursday citing "internal reasons."

It was the second country to pull out after Japan, which had planned to send a destroyer but decided not to participate because of demands not to fly the imperial rising-sun flag.

The two countries will send delegations instead. Some 46 countries will be represented in one way or another.

Twenty-two Korean Navy ships showed up in waters off Jeju on Tuesday in a rehearsal, ahead of the main event on Thursday. They included the 14,500-ton amphibious assault ship Dokdo and the 7,600-ton Aegis destroyer Yulgok Yi Yi.

Seventeen naval vessels from 12 countries including a 103,600-ton aircraft carrier and a 10,000-ton destroyer from the U.S., and an 11,600-ton-class cruiser from Russia will take part in the review.

The gross tonnage of the Korean ships was over 82,000 tons. Some 1,200 invited Korean guests watched the rehearsal from other ships and applauded whenever each Korean ship passed by.

The event is held every 10 years. In 1998 when Korea launched the 3,200-ton Gwanggaeto the Great-class destroyer, its first homegrown destroyer, then President Kim Dae-jung reviewed the fleet aboard the destroyer. In 2008, Korea launched its first homegrown Aegis ship, becoming the fifth country with such ships in the world.

Some local residents and activists staged a protest against the fleet review in front of the naval base, and some activists paddled kayaks in waters near the naval base on Wednesday. More protests are expected on Thursday.

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