S. Korea, US to stage joint naval exercise next week
By Jung Sung-ki
South Korea and the United States will stage a large-scale naval exercise in the West Sea next week, about two months after North Korea attacked a South Korean frigate there, officials of the Ministry of National Defense said Wednesday.
Following the exercise to be held from May 8 to 11 in waters south of the Northern Limit Line (NLL), the navies of the two allies also plan to conduct a joint anti-submarine drill, they said.
"After a multinational investigation pointed to North Korean involvement in the ship sinking, both governments agreed to show their firm deterrent against threats from the North," a ministry official said.
The U.S. 7th Fleet will dispatch the nuclear-powered aircraft carrier USS George Washington, as well as nuclear-powered submarines, Aegis-equipped warships and amphibious assault landing ships, the official said on condition of anonymity.
Named after the first president of the United States, George Washington is the sixth ship in the Nimitz class. Commissioned in July 1992, she is best known for her huge size ― 233 meters in length and 78 meters in width.
The 100,000-ton aircraft carrier based in the Yokosuka naval base in Japan can accommodate about 6,250 crew members and carry some 90 fixed wing aircraft and helicopters.
The South Korean Navy plans to mobilize 4,500-ton KDX-II destroyers, 1,800-ton Type-214 attack submarines and F-15K fighter jets in the drill, said the official.
The exercise will include naval bombardment, dropping depth charges and checks of communications systems between the allied forces, he said.
Last month, a South Korea-led multinational investigation group released a report saying a North Korean midget submarine had torpedoed the 1,200-ton frigate Cheonan in the West Sea on March 26, killing 46 sailors.
The Seoul government pledged stern countermeasures in retaliation, including the ROK-U.S. naval exercise and the resumption of psychological warfare.
Thursday, June 3, 2010
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