North Korean Submarine “Goes Missing” During “Largest Ever” US, South Korea Assault Drill

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In response to the rising belligerence by North Korea, and its increasingly more frequent rocket launches, U.S. and South Korean troops staged a massive amphibious landing exercise Saturday, storming simulated North Korean beach defenses amid and threats by Pyongyang to annihilate its enemies.

The landing and assault drills on South Korea’s east coast were part of eight weeks of joint exercises between the allies which the South has said are the largest ever. As Reuters reports, the North has denounced the exercises as “nuclear war moves” and threatened to respond with an all-out offensive.

The clip below shows the large joint amphibious landing exercise near Pohang on Saturday, simulating an assault on a mock North Korean beach.  The exercise involved around 30 US and South Korean ships, carrying over 50 marine aircraft, and numerous amphibious armoured personnel carriers.

“We sincerely believe in peace through strength. And it is in our strength of our alliance that we believe that we can deter and avoid war,” stated U.S. Marine Corps Brig. General John Jansen in a statement to the press.

Below are photos of the South Korean (blue headbands) and U.S. Marines taking positions as amphibious assault vehicles of the South Korean Marine Corps fire smoke bombs:

Tension on the Korean peninsula has been high since the North conducted its fourth nuclear test in January and followed that with a long-range rocket launch last month, triggering new U.N. sanctions.

About 55 U.S. marine aircraft and 30 U.S. and South Korean ships, including the USS Bonhomme Richard and USS Boxer, which carry AV-8B Harrier attack jets and V-22 Osprey aircrafts, took part in the assault on beaches near Pohang city, the U.S. navy said.

“They will penetrate notional enemy beach defenses, establish a beach head, and rapidly transition forces and sustainment ashore,” the U.S. military based in South Korea said in a statement before the exercise.

Meanwhile, the increasingly irrational North’s military said it was prepared to counter the U.S. and South Korean forces “with an ultra-precision blitzkrieg strike of the Korean style”.

“The revolutionary armed forces of the DPRK holding tightly the arms to annihilate the enemies with towering hatred for them are waiting for the dignified Supreme Command to issue an order to launch a preemptive strike of justice,” it said in comments carried by the state KCNA news agency.

While anyone will hardly lose sleep over yet another threat by North Korea, a more troubling development emerged on Saturday when CNN reported that North Korea has been searching for one of its submarines that has been missing for days off its east coast.

The submarine may be adrift under the sea or have sunk, perhaps after a technical problem during an exercise, CNN quoted U.S. officials with intelligence of secret U.S. monitoring of the North’s activities as saying.

A South Korean defence ministry told AFP Seoul was investigating the reports. Pentagon officials declined to comment on the matter. The US military had been observing the submarine off the North’s eastern coast, CNN said, citing three US officials familiar with the incident.

As the Telegraph adds, the US Naval Institute (USNI) News said the submarine was presumed sunk. “The speculation is that it sank”, an unidentified US official was quoted as telling the USNI News.

“The North Koreans have not made an attempt to indicate there is something wrong or that they require help or some type of assistance.”

North Korea has said it is developing submarine-launched ballistic missiles although doubts about that were raised after Western experts said publicly released footage of tests appeared to be fake.

Of course, if instead of sinking, the NorKo sub is quietly making its way to Calfornia coast to “annihilate the enemies with towering hatred” and “are waiting for the dignified Supreme Command to issue an order to launch a preemptive strike of justice” it would look something like this:

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  • I forgot

    No matter what KCNA out of Pyongyang says,t it’s propaganda. No doubt that sub is toast. ROK Marines and US Marines if unleashed would waste the North.

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    • Dunno y

      Dont bet on it. This is an attempt to enter China into the fray and nothing more. Sorry guy but the outdated ROK and U.S.marines would be gone in a flash and they know it. Modern geopolitical warfare is all about missiles. Large invasion forces only worked in the middle east caught unawares. Sorry but you snooze you lose and the U.S. is ten years behind in mod warfare. It knows it.

      • I forgot

        That could very well be the case, but KCNA is a propaganda machine much like our own media. And our government is a joke much like that fat little pig in Kim Jong Un. Our Marines still do their job, but it used to be we were greaty feared and so were the ROK Marines.

  • Jollyjoke

    This article is sparse on data. North Korea possess six classes of diesel powered submarines. Only two have long range capabilities; 9k miles for the Romeo class and, 13k submerged for the Whiskey class. Both are diesel powered and must surface frequently to charge their batteries. Neither have missile launch capabilities. If people are shaking in their shoes get over it. Satellite reconnaissance and numerous buoys in the Pacific can pick these boats up long before they reach US territorial waters.
    .
    Sounds like the US and it’s allies are trying to gin us up for another war.

  • Frank

    That missing sub is most likely sitting on the bottom somewhere, broken, and all crew members dead. When it went missing, the US and South Korean navies and intelligence services probably went into crisis mode to locate it – fearful that it might actually be moving to carry out a first strike or feint against either country. The US Navy will find it, eventually, but not in time to save the crew. SEALs will board it and have a look inside for anything of intelligence value (weapons/missiles onboard, technology being used for operating systems, etc.) and then the NK (DPRK) will be notified of the find.

  • RobertFl

    To cut cost, North Korea used screen doors on their submarine, claiming it was a technological advance.

  • Carl Stevenson

    Or, it’s on its way to sail through the Golden Gate, or into Los Angeles of San Diego Harbor, with a crude nuke on board … North Korea is clearly run by a madman and I wouldn’t put anything past him.