| 21 February 2024, Wednesday |

South Korea’s upgraded warship, Cheonan, begins mission amidst North Korean tensions

The new Cheonan warship of South Korea, named after the vessel torpedoed by North Korea in 2010, has embarked on a significant mission, marked by heightened combat readiness. The sinking of the original Cheonan, resulting in the deaths of 46 sailors, remains a politically sensitive issue in South Korea, where skepticism about North Korea’s involvement persists.
President Yoon Suk Yeol, known for his hawkish stance, has publicly expressed support for the victims of the Cheonan incident. Wearing a T-shirt and hat featuring the ship, President Yoon has symbolically stood by the memory of the torpedoed warship.
The new Cheonan, a 2,800-ton frigate, signifies a considerable advancement in anti-submarine capabilities. With a mission to protect the West Sea, the vessel is equipped with long-range anti-submarine torpedoes and tactical ship-to-ship guided missiles. These enhancements enable the warship to effectively target enemy submarines from a considerable distance and strike onshore facilities commanding such submarines.

“We will be fully prepared for battle and equipped with unbeatable combat readiness posture,” the Cheonan’s chief said, according to the statement.

“If the enemy provokes in the West Sea, we will respond immediately and strongly until the end,” the chief added.

The deployment of the new Cheonan comes amidst escalating nuclear and military threats from North Korea. Leader Kim Jong Un’s recent statement regarding the possibility of a nuclear attack if provoked adds to the heightened tensions in the region. Additionally, North Korea’s recent testing of the Hwasong-18 intercontinental ballistic missile and the launch of a military spy satellite have further strained inter-Korean ties.

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