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S. Korea, U.S. conduct joint drills against N. Korea's submarine attacks

2016/02/15 10:05

SEOUL, Feb. 15 (Yonhap) -- South Korea and the United States carried out a three-day joint exercise on boosting the allies' joint combat readiness against North Korea's potential submarine attacks, the Navy said Monday.

The drills between the navy forces of the two countries kicked off Saturday in the East Sea and were to wrap up later in the day, according to the Navy.

The U.S. sent the USS North Carolina attack submarine to the three-day drills, while a South Korean 1,800-ton submarine, the Kim Jwa-jin, joined them.

The Virginia-class American attack submarine is capable of carrying Tomahawk all-weather cruise missiles and Mark 48 submarine-launched torpedoes. The submarine cruises at a speed of 46 kilometers per hour.

"The submarines of both countries' navies conducted a submarine-chasing drill and an actual fighting training in the latest exercise and boosted their ability to detect, distinguish, trace and attack enemy submarines," the Navy said.

"Through the latest drills, the submarine crew were able to improve their actual warfare capabilities and combined operation competence," Capt. Kang Joon-kyu of the South Korean submarine said.

On the heels of the submarine exercise, the two countries' naval forces will conduct another submarine detection drill involving sea-based patrol aircraft Wednesday, the Navy also said.

The South Korean Navy will mobilize its P-3 anti-submarine aircraft for the one-day exercise, while the U.S. will send a P-8 Poseidon maritime patrol aircraft.

The latest local deployment of U.S. military assets is part of the allies' efforts to show off their combined military might after North Korea's recent nuclear test and long-range missile launch.

The U.S. is also reportedly moving to send the USS John C. Stennis (CVN-74), a Nimitz-class nuclear-powered supercarrier, to join the joint South Korea-U.S. military exercises in South Korea next month.

"The U.S. military will send a warning message and reassert its commitment to the defense of South Korea through the deployment of key strategic assets to the Korean Peninsula," a military official said.