Navy steps up defense against North

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Navy steps up defense against North

The South Korean Navy has decided to step up its defense tactics against submarine attacks in light of the sinking of the Cheonan warship, Navy Adm. Kim Sung-chan said yesterday.

Kim said that as part of the Navy’s anti-submarine maritime surveillance activities the patrol range of surveillance aircraft has been moved 15 miles toward the Northern Limit line - a disputed maritime demarcation line between North and South Korea.

Kim also said that about 30 high-speed vessels will be equipped with special detectors and that sonar sensors were replaced on about 10 warships.

Kim made the announcement during the Navy’s first-ever National Assembly audit. Anti-submarine joint training drills for South Korean and U.S. troops will be increased to twice a year on both the eastern and western coast and the duration of the training will be extended from a week to a week and a half, Kim said.

The Navy is also planning to procure nine 1,800-ton-class submarines by the year 2018 and nine 3,000-ton-class submarines after 2020.

Records received yesterday by the National Assembly from the Joint Chiefs of Staff show that North Korean boats had crossed the NLL 53 times since March and eight times in May, after South Korean President Lee Myung-bak’s announcement on May 24 regarding measures to be taken against North Korea.

The records show that North Korea was also found to have increasingly entered South Korean waters during the past two years, focusing mostly on the western coast.

North Korean ships crossed the NLL 50 times in 2009. There have already been 88 crossings this year as of last Friday, and nine of those were recorded in this month. The number of intrusions over the past five years was 211, according to the Joint Chiefs’ records.

Grand National Party Rep. Song Young-sun, who had originally requested the records, said during the audit that there should be more attention given to this issue to prevent another incident like the Cheonan.


By Christine Kim [christine.kim@joongang.co.kr]

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