S Korea, US to hold more antisubmarine drills

The US, South Korea will conduct joint drills in the Yellow Sea in September.

Seoul: South Korea and the US will hold large-scale joint antisubmarine drills in waters off the west coast of the Korean peninsula early next month, Seoul`s Yonhap News Agency reported.

According to Xinhua, the two allies will conduct joint drills in the Yellow Sea in September, Seoul`s Ministry of National Defence said in a joint statement with the US.

The details of the drills, including the exact date and military assets to be mobilised, are still under discussion, it said, adding that the exercise, with an aim to improve the two allies` antisubmarine combat capability, will be "defensive in nature".

The drills will follow two joint military exercises held by Seoul and Washington in South Korea, under a framework agreed by top diplomats and defence officials from the two countries in late July.

At the so-called "two plus two" security talks, the two allies` foreign and defence ministers decided to stage a series of joint military drills, as countermeasures against the sinking of the South Korean warship Cheonan in March, which left 46 sailors dead.

Seoul accused the Democratic People`s Republic of Korea (DPRK) of torpedoing the warship, but Pyongyang denies its involvement.

After their four-day joint military drills, codenamed "Invincible Spirit", in waters off the east coast of the divided Korean Peninsula late July, the two allies currently are carrying out 11-day war games dubbed the "Ulchi Freedom Guardian" (UFG).

On its part, Pyongyang has warned of counter-actions against the UFG, criticising it for heightening tension. It recently promised to deliver a "merciless counterblow" against the war games.

IANS

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