South Korea, US hold drill amid threats
SEOUL - Agence France-Presse
The USS San Francisco, a US nuclear-powered submarine, is docked at a naval base in Jinhae before South Korea and US joint military exercise.South Korea and the United States launched yesterday a joint naval exercise involving a U.S. nuclear submarine, as tensions rise on the Korean peninsula ahead of an expected nuclear test by North Korea.
A Defense Ministry spokesman confirmed the three-day drill, condemned as a “warmongering” exercise by North Korea, was underway in the East Sea (Sea of Japan) off the southeastern South Korean port of Pohang. The USS San Francisco, armed with Tomahawk cruise missiles, is joined in the drill by a Aegis destroyer, the USS Shiloh. “The exercise includes at-sea operating training, detecting and tracking a submarine, anti-air and anti-ship live fire training and anti-missile training,” the Yonhap news agency
quoted one military official as saying.
The drill comes as the North has ramped up threats of a nuclear test in response to expanded U.N. sanctions imposed after its long-range rocket launch in December. Although South Korean officials stressed the drill was scheduled before the North threatened to detonate its third nuclear device, the presence of the submarine has been seen as a warning to Pyongyang.