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ROK Begins Anti-sub Drills in West Sea

The Navy’s Daecheon submarine fires a torpedo on Thursday as a part of an anti-submarine naval drill held in the West Sea. (Ahn Hoon/ The Korea Herald)

The ROK military commenced five (5) days of anti-submarine drills in the West Sea on Thursday (5 August).  The exercises are being conducted to bolster ROK defense capabilities, following the sinking of the Cheonan in March.  The exercises will involve some 4,500 participants from the ROK’s Army, Navy, Air Forces, Marines and maritime police, and the ROK Navy has mobilized 30 naval vessels for the drill.  The KPA western zone command said “it is the unchanging and firm resolve of our people and military to control fire with fire.”

Korea Herald reports:

The maritime maneuvers are part of the efforts to respond to the sinking of the corvette Cheonan, which Seoul holds Pyongyang culpable for.

The communist state, which denies its culpability, has warned of a “strong physical counterstrike” against the exercise, which comes after the South Korea-U.S. exercise was conducted in the East Sea last month in a display of force against the North.

Some 4,500 people from the Army, the Navy, the Air Force, the Marine Corps and the maritime police are taking part in the exercise.

The military has mobilized nearly 30 naval vessels, including the 14,000-ton amphibious landing ship Dokdo, the 4,500-ton KDX-II destroyers, and about 50 aircraft, including KF-16 fighter jets.

The military has said that the exercise will focus on strengthening capabilities to respond to the enemy’s asymmetric provocations and joint operational capabilities, underscoring its resolve not to condone any further North Korean provocations.

“The exercise is a tailored and practical one (to prepare against) each type of enemy provocation, including provocations by enemy submarines and those along the Northern Limit Line,” said Rear Admiral Kim Kyung-sik of the Joint Chiefs of Staff in a press briefing on Wednesday.

Yonhap reports:

The South Korean military engaged in tactical maneuvering and submarine tracking exercises Thursday on the first day of its largest-ever anti-submarine drills near the western maritime border with North Korea, where its warship sank in an attack it blames on the communist neighbor.

Self-propelled guns were also fired as the country’s military launched the five-day exercises, Seoul’s latest response to Pyongyang’s provocation. Some 4,500 troops from all four branches of the service — army, navy, air force and marines — have been mobilized for the maneuver that involves the 14,000-ton Dokdo amphibious landing ship, a 1,800-ton submarine and a 4,500-ton KDX-II class destroyer, plus some 50 fighter jets, according to the Joint Chiefs of Staff (JCS).

Friday’s drills will include anti-submarine battles, drills against intrusions by North Korean special forces and preparations against coastal artillery offensive, it said.

This is South Korea’s second naval drills in less than two weeks. In late July, Seoul and Washington held their joint naval and air exercises in the East Sea to deter North Korea from further provocations and to display the solidarity of their military alliance.

Marine troops stand guard along the coast of Bangnyeong Island during a military exercise in the West Sea on Thursday. (Yonhap)

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This article was written on 05 Aug 2010, and is filled under DPRK External Relations, Inter-Korean Relations, other topics, Uncategorized.

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