S. Korea, U.S. to Stage Anti-Sub Drill in Yellow Sea
The U.S. and South Korean navies will stage a joint anti-submarine drill in the Yellow Sea next week to guard against potential attacks by North Korea, Seoul's defense ministry said Thursday.
The drill from February 20-24 will involve a number of submarines and warships from both countries, a ministry spokesman told Agence France Presse without elaborating.
JoongAng Ilbo newspaper said the drill would involve some 20 craft including two Aegis ships from the U.S. and one from South Korea, as well as Lynx helicopters and P3-C anti-submarine surveillance aircraft.
Citing an unidentified Seoul military official, it said the exercise would be the largest anti-submarine joint drill carried out by the allies.
The two countries staged a joint anti-submarine drill in September 2010, months after Seoul accused Pyongyang of torpedoing a warship with the loss of 46 lives in the Yellow Sea in March 2010.
The North denied it sank the ship. But in November that year it shelled a border island, killing four South Koreans.
The upcoming drill, to precede two other major joint exercises, comes at a sensitive time in the North which is undergoing a power transition.
Pyongyang has taken a hostile tone towards Seoul since Kim Jong-Un, the youngest son of the late leader Kim Jong-Il, took over following the death of his father last December.
The Key Resolve drill between the South and the U.S. will start on February 27 and continue until March 9. Separately, a joint air, ground and naval field training exercise known as Foal Eagle will be held from March 1 to April 30.
North Korea has denounced the exercises as warmongering.