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Nuclear-Powered US Submarine Enters Chinhae Port

Korean Times | March 24 2005

A local leading civic group confirmed on Wednesday that a U.S. nuclear-powered submarine was anchored at a military base in South Korea.

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.

``American nuclear-powered submarines and aircraft carriers come into our waters to take part in joint military drills on a regular basis,'' he added.

``No nuclear waste was dumped because the radioactive check that we performed on the submarine showed no evidence of change in nuclear waste,'' a defense ministry official said.

Asked about the civic group's claim that the port call of the submarine breached the denuclearization declaration, he declined to comment, saying only that it is not for the defense ministry to comment on.

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