S. Korea, US to Reinforce Info Sharing to Counter N. Korean Submarine Threats

Seoul – South Korea and the United States have agreed to share information on the underwater environment in North Korean waters, Seoul officials said Sunday, a move to better counter Pyongyang’s growing submarine-based military threats.

At a submarine-related committee meeting in June, the two allies discussed ways to analyze underwater information in seas on both sides of the Korean Peninsula and share it with each other, a South Korean military official said.

The waters eyed for bilateral information sharing will include South Korean territory, as well as the seas surrounding the North’s main submarine base in Sinpo, the official noted.

Sinpo, the homeport of North Korea’s Gorae-class ballistic missile submarine program, is located in the North’s northeastern province of Hamkyung.

“The underwater environment related to the military operations comprises topographical features, water temperature, depth of water and tidal currents, among others. A thorough analysis of them will help detect North Korean submarines’ moves and possible infiltrations into the South’s seawaters,” the official said.

In the Yellow Sea, particularly near the Northern Limit Line, known for its fast current and frequent changes in the underwater environment, Seoul and Washington will strengthen surveillance and information analysis for possible infiltration routes of the North’s submarines, he said.

US nuclear-powered submarines are widely known to have collected such data from the remote North Korean waters in the East Sea, according to the defense ministry sources.

Seoul and Washington have carried out an annual drill to deal with the North’s submarine-based provocations. They will put a bigger focus on detecting, tracing and striking North Korean submarines that carry submarine-launched ballistic missiles (SLBMs), the ministry said.

Source: Qatar News Agency