A US aircraft carrier arrived in South Korea yesterday for manoeuvres, a media report said, amid increasing tensions with North Korea.
The atomic-powered USS John C Stennis is visiting the port of Pusan and will take part in the annual "Key Resolve" military exercises involving US and South Korean forces, the Yonhap News Agency said.
Three American guided-missile destroyers and a cruiser will also participate in the visit to the port on the southeast coast of South Korea. The aircraft carrier weighs 103,000 tonnes.
Tensions have risen on the Korean Peninsula since North Korea carried out its fourth atomic test in January and a long-range rocket launch in February.
North Korea yesterday blasted Seoul's accusation that Pyongyang had launched a series of cyber attacks targeting South Korean government officials, calling the allegation a "bull****" fabrication. Seoul's National Intelligence Service (NIS) last week accused North Korean agents of hacking into the smartphones of dozens of key South Korean officials, stealing phone numbers and texts.
The accusation followed claims earlier this year from the NIS that North Korean hackers sent phishing emails to the South's state railway authorities in preparation for cyberterror attacks on traffic control systems.
The North's state-run Rodong Sinmun newspaper lashed out at the hacking accusations, saying they were cooked up by Seoul to shore up support for controversial surveillance legislation.
"This is such shameless bull**** from the enemy forces who are obsessed with confrontation and political slander," read an editorial published yesterday.
It added that Seoul was trying to use the "fabricated" threats to rally support for an anti-cyberterror bill that would the grant the NIS greater surveillance powers on the internet.
The controversial bill, which critics say could be used against political opponents, is pending in the National Assembly.
Seoul has blamed North Korean hackers in the past for a series of cyberattacks on military institutions, banks, government bodies, TV broadcasters and media websites as well as a nuclear power plant.