North Korean submarine goes missing: Reports
Iran Press TV
Sat Mar 12, 2016 7:22AM
US officials claim North Korea has lost contact with one of its submarines, amid ongoing military exercises by South Korea and the United States in the region.
Reports on Saturday said the vessel, of an unknown class, was last seen operating off the North Korean coast earlier this week.
They cited US military officials as saying that American spy satellites, aircraft, and ships have been watching the North Korean navy search for the missing submarine.
The report said the US military is unsure whether the vessel is adrift or has sunk, but believes it underwent an unspecified failure during an exercise.
The US Naval Institute (USNI) News, meanwhile, has said the vessel was presumed sunk.
North Korea has not confirmed the incident, and has made no comment on the report.
A South Korean Defense Ministry official, whose name was not mentioned in reports, said his country is investigating the reports.
The report of the submarine going missing came as Pyongyang issued a new warning against South Korea and the US over their joint ongoing drills.
The official North Korean KCNA news agency cited a statement from military chiefs, who warned that Pyongyang would carry out "a preemptive retaliatory strike at the enemy groups" involved in the joint US-South Korean exercises.
The statement said the North planned to respond to the drills with an "operation to liberate the whole of South Korea including Seoul' with an "ultra-precision blitzkrieg."
On Thursday, North Korea fired short-range ballistic missiles into the sea in an apparent reaction to the ongoing war games between the US and South.
Later on Saturday, US and South Korean troops staged massive amphibious landing exercises and assault drills on South Korea's east coast.
"They will penetrate notional enemy beach defenses, establish a beach head, and rapidly transition forces and sustainment ashore," the US military based in South Korea said in a statement before staging the exercises.
Relations between North and South Korea have been characterized by consistent tension. The two countries fought a war in the early 1950s, and have been at odds ever since the war ended.
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