The North Korean regime lost contact with one of its submarines earlier this week, three U.S. officials familiar with the latest information told CNN. The U.S. military had been observing the submarine operate off North Korea’s east coast when the vessel stopped, and U.S. spy satellites, aircraft and ships have been secretly watching for days as the North Korean navy searched for the missing sub.
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The U.S. is unsure if the missing vessel is adrift under the sea or whether it has sunk, the officials said, but believes it suffered some type of failure during an exercise.
Tensions have heightened on the Korean peninsula following a fourth North Korean nuclear test and joint U.S.-South Korean military drills.
On Thursday, the South Korean military said North Korea fired two short-range ballistic missiles. They were fired from North Hwanghae province, south of Pyongyang, toward the sea east of the Korean Peninsula, the South Korean Joint Chiefs of Staff said. The South tracked the projectiles and is monitoring the situation, it said.
Also Thursday, the agency published a statement that “all agreements on economic cooperation and business exchanges adopted by North and South are invalid.”
This comes after Seoul last month ordered the closure of the Kaesong industrial complex, a rare symbol of cooperation between the two Koreas.
Describing the shuttering of Kaesong as a “unilateral” move, KCNA said Pyongyang “will completely liquidate all South Korean companies and relevant assets” within its borders.
Seoul condemned the suspension of economic ties Thursday, with the Unification Ministry saying in a statement it would “never accept” the move, which it described as a “provocative action.”
The statement added it would hold Pyongyang responsible for any damage to South Korean assets north of the border.
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