- No mas: Principal bans Spanish language in intercom announcement
- Hacking software could put ‘zombie drone army’ in user’s hands
- Support for stricter gun laws drops: poll
- 10 whales dead, 41 others stranded in Everglades
- John Boehner faces bipartisan pressure to allow gay-rights vote
- Martin Bashir resigns from MSNBC over ‘ill-judged’ comments about Sarah Palin
- Rep. Duncan Hunter: While Obama prays for Iranian change, U.S. should ready its nukes
- Best company ever? Veteran Beer Co. exists to employ vets, provide quality beer
- Iran official: Sanctions ‘utterly failed’ to stop nuclear program
- ‘Black Santa’ display at IU sparks student outrage
S. Korea launches drills despite N. Korean threats
ABOARD THE ROK DOKDO (AP) — South Korean troops fired artillery and dropped sonar buoys into the Yellow Sea as naval drills kicked off Thursday near the spot where a warship sank four months ago.
Some 4,500 South Korean troops aboard more than 20 ships and submarines as well as about 50 aircraft were mobilized to take part in the five days of naval exercises off the west coast, including spots near the two Koreas’ maritime border, the Joint Chiefs of Staff said.
North Korea called the drills a military provocation that threatened to reignite war on the Korean peninsula.
“If the puppet warmongers dare ignite a war, (North Korea) will mercilessly destroy the provokers and their stronghold by mobilizing most powerful war tactics and offensive means beyond imagination,” the ruling Committee for the Peaceful Reunification of the Fatherland said in a statement carried by North Korea’s official Korean Central News Agency.
Soldiers aboard the 14,000-ton ROK Dokdo, an amphibious landing ship, patrolled the deck as Lynx helicopters dropped sonar devices into the sea in search of enemy submarines. A 1,200-ton frigate remained on standby, ready to torpedo the target.
The fleet dispatched for the exercises also include three 1,800-ton submarines, a 4,500-ton destroyer and some 50 fighter jets, Cmdr. Won Hyung-sik of the Joint Chiefs of Staff said in Seoul.
The drills come just weeks after South Korea’s joint military exercises with the United States off the east coast — maneuvers held in response to the deadly March sinking of the Cheonan warship, which killed 46 South Korean sailors.
A five-nation team of investigators concluded in May that a North Korean torpedo fired from a submarine sank the 1,200-ton Cheonan as the warship was carrying out routine surveillance. North Korea denied sinking the ship.
The waters off the west coast have been the site of several naval clashes between the two Koreas. The three-year Korean War ended in an armistice in 1953, but North Korea disputes the western maritime border unilaterally drawn by the United Nations.
North and South have engaged in three bloody battles near the line, most recently in November 2009, and the Cheonan went down in March not too far from the border.
Pyongyang warned earlier in the week that it would “counter the reckless naval firing projected by the group of traitors with strong physical retaliation” and advised civilian ships to stay away from the maritime border.
The North also threatened to respond to last month’s South Korea-U.S. military exercises with “nuclear deterrence,” but South Korean military officials said there was no sign of unusual North Korean military activity.
North Korea routinely issues such threats, especially when the South holds joint military drills with the United States. Pyongyang sees the exercises as a rehearsal for an invasion. The United States has 28,500 troops in South Korea to protect the longtime Asian ally.
South Korea was monitoring North Korea’s military closely but spotted no unusual activity Thursday, the Joint Chiefs of Staff said.
Associated Press writers Kwang-tae Kim and Sangwon Yoon contributed to this report from Seoul.
- Apple wins facial recognition patent for iPhone 6
- Inside China: Nuclear submarines capable of widespread attack on U.S.
- U.S. drops 2,000 mice on Guam by parachute to kill snakes
- Xbox One, Playstation 4 games penalize users for cursing in their own homes
- Kill team: Obama war chiefs widen drone death zones
- Hola: Boehner prepares to push amnesty bill through House
- Young and healthy millennials create risky imbalance by shunning Obamacare
- Obama: Growing income inequality 'defining challenge' of this generation
- U.S. pilot scares off Iranians with 'Top Gun'-worthy stunt: 'You really ought to go home'
- CURL: 'Mission Accomplished' for Obamacare
Independent voices from the The Washington Times Communities
The Constitution: Every issue, every time. No exceptions, no excuses. And how to get from here to there.
A libertarian look at breaking news and political trends by author Tom Mullen.
A stat-head’s outlook, direct from his worn in couch cushion.
Playing Through covers the world of PGA golf, as well as tips your the average golfer to play better.