Korea, U.S. to hold anti-submarine drill next week
Korea and the U.S. will conduct a joint exercise next week to counter North Korean submarines off the west coast, officials said Thursday.
"For five days starting next Monday, the navies of the two countries will hold a joint anti-submarine exercise in the Yellow Sea," a military official said. "It's designed to help strengthen the allies' combined readiness posture and their tactical and operational capabilities to respond to North Korean submarines."
Seoul and Washington had agreed in December last year to stage two joint anti-submarine exercises per year.
According to the official, this upcoming exercise will involve a 7,600-ton Aegis destroyer "Yulgok Yi I," which was deployed last year, plus about 20 other vessels, Lynx helicopters and P3-C anti-submarine surveillance aircraft.
In a related development, the government has given the Navy the green light to set up a new command for submarines by year 2015. The National Assembly has earmarked a budget of 639 million won (US$569,520) for preparations this year.
The Navy had earlier eyed the year 2012 to launch the command, but the plan had been halted under budget constraints.
South Korea is known to operate about a dozen submarines, as opposed to about 70 submarines in North Korea. (Yonhap)