S. Korea, US drill begins under nuclear test cloud
SEOUL (AFP) - South Korea and the United States launched a joint naval exercise involving a US nuclear submarine on Monday, as tensions rise on the Korean peninsula ahead of an expected nuclear test by North Korea.
A defence ministry spokesman confirmed the three-day drill - condemned as a "warmongering" exercise by North Korea - was underway in the East Sea (Sea of Japan) off the southeastern South Korean port of Pohang.
Although South Korean military officials stressed the drill was scheduled before the North threatened to detonate its third nuclear device, the presence of the submarine has been seen as a warning to Pyongyang.
The USS San Francisco, armed with Tomahawk cruise missiles, is joined in the drill by a 9,800-tonnes Aegis destroyer, the USS Shiloh.