U.S. Submarine Visits S. Korea
This one is great. The Korea Times has a breathless article about a U.S. nuclear submarine visiting Chinhae, and they claim to have photographic evidence! Here's an excerpt:
"Green Korea United confirmed that the U.S. nuclear-powered submarine SSN-688-LA was at the naval base in the southeastern naval port city of Chinhae.
"The civic group made public the photograph of the SSN-688 Los Angeles-class submarine that they took on March 16 at the base, claiming that the presence of the submarine within Korean waters breached the 1992 Joint Declaration on Denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula.
"The declaration stipulates that the two Koreas are only allowed to use nuclear energy for peaceful purposes.
"The civic group said that the submarine anchored in the naval base on March 16 to replenish Korea's military supplies, raising suspicion that the submarine might have dumped nuclear waste from its nuclear reactors into an island near the port during its stay.
``We've suspected the American nuclear-powered submarine of anchoring at the Korean territory two or three times a year, but we confirmed it with a photograph this time,'' the civic group said.
``The government and the U.S. should give up pushing forward with the joint military tactics of nuclear-powered submarines on the Korean Peninsula,'' it added.
The ROK-U.S. Combined Forces Command (CFC) and the South Korean Ministry of Defense denied any dumping of nuclear waste but acknowledged that the submarine had entered the peninsula.
``The submarine was on the Korean Peninsula to participate in a military exercise. But the claim that it has dumped nuclear waste is not true,'' a CFC official said."
Wow... this is an amazing coup, confirming that a nuclear-powered U.S. warship is visiting South Korea. Now, they could have just gone to Pusan, about 50 miles down the road from Chinhae, and seen one of the nuclear-powered aircraft carriers anchored out in the harbor about twice a year, but a submarine is much more sinister. Actually, I am impressed that they got a picture from Chinhae harbor; the South Koreans are very serious about security. Our submarines visit Chinhae probably 2-3 times a year; it's a decent liberty port (cheaper than Japan), and they have these little dried minnows that you can eat if you're getting really drunk. [Sea story digression: I spent my 29th birthday in Chinhae, back in my drinking days. Six of us went to this hotel dance club about 20 km NW of Chinhae; I don't remember much except at one point I was in the middle of a circle of about 200 grinning and clapping Koreans, doing these John Travolta-like disco moves. Then, the six of us did the bunny hop -- I was in back, and suddenly I felt a pair of hands on my shoulder; some of the Korean guys had joined in. Not sure how we got back to the boat.] Plus, they have cab drivers that I'd put against any from anywhere else in the world in terms of sheer terror they cause in their passengers.