The naval forces of the US and South Korea staged joint anti-submarine drills, involving a US nuclear-powered craft, in waters off the Korean Peninsula, local media reported on Saturday.
The joint navy drills came just days after an another nuclear-powered US submarine, the second in a week, docked in South Korea.
The exercise was held in waters south of the southern island of Jeju and involved Seoul’s ROKS Yulgok Yi I Aegis-equipped destroyer and ROKS Yi Sun-sin submarine. On the American side, the USS Annapolis took part in the drill, the Seoul-based Yonhap News reported.
“This exercise was prepared to strengthen the South Korean and U.S. navies’ response capabilities and enhance interoperability in preparation against North Korean submarine infiltrations amid growing threats from North Korea’s missile provocations,” the news agency quoted the South Korean Navy as saying.
The joint navy exercises focused on training response procedure against a simulated North Korean submarine, it added.
Tension is rising on the Korean Peninsula as Seoul boosted its relations with the US and Japan and held regular off and on-shore drills in the region.
North Korea has itself ramped up missile launches, threatening a pre-emptive strike.
It fired multiple cruise missiles last week into the Yellow Sea between China and the Korean Peninsula, according to Seoul.
On July 18, the USS Kentucky docked in Busan port, 320 kilometers (198 miles) southeast of Seoul. It left South Korea on July 21.
It was the first time since 1981 that any US nuclear-powered submarine had visited the region.
Source : AA