US, South Korea launch naval drill

Seoul, May 7 (IANS/RIA Novosti) South Korea and the US have begun an anti-submarine exercise in the Yellow Sea, the Yonhap news agency reported. The drill will continue till Friday.

The exercise involves a nuclear-powered Los Angeles-class submarine, Aegis destroyers and P-3C maritime surveillance aircraft deployed from US bases, as well as South Korean destroyers, submarines and maritime aircraft, military officials said.

“It is part of an annual routine drill held to prepare against an adversary’s submarine infiltration,” Yonhap quoted a military official as saying.

The anti-submarine drill comes after the US and South Korea completed their two-month-long Foal Eagle joint exercises last week, amid high inter-Korean tensions.

North Korea reacted angrily to the latest drills, with a spokesman for the Policy Department of the National Defense Commission calling on Seoul to stop “hostile acts and military provocations”.

Seoul’s defence ministry vowed not to give in to Pyongyang’s demands.

“As the drills are designed to defend against North Korean provocations, they cannot be stopped,” defence ministry spokesman Kim Min-seok was quoted by Yonhap as saying.

“As long as the North maintains its hostile stance, the joint drills will continue.”

Tensions have risen sharply on the Korean Peninsula since December, when North Korea tested a long-range Taepodong 2 missile, followed in February by its third nuclear test.

After the start of the Foal Eagle exercises, North Korea threatened to carry out a nuclear attack on the US mainland and on US forces in the region, and later denied entry to South Korean workers to the jointly run Kaesong industrial complex in North Korea, prompting South Korea to withdraw its remaining workers from the site.

–IANS/RIA Novosti


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