50 North Korean submarines mysteriously vanish

South Korean naval vessel
(Image credit: Lee Jin-Man/AFP/Getty Images)

Fifty North Korean submarines left their home ports yesterday and have not been seen since, despite the joint efforts to locate their whereabouts by South Korean and U.S. reconnaissance teams, The Independent reports. The 50 submarines account for the largest deployment since the Korean War, making up 70 percent of a full North Korean submarine fleet. Military officials are unsure whether the North has ordered attacks on commercial and naval vessels, or if the submarines' deployment is just another effort by Pyongyang to threaten the South with a show of force. One military source told South Korea's Chosun Ilbo that it was "an unprecedentedly serious situation."

Talks between North Korea and South Korea have reportedly faltered, with South Korean President Park Geun Hye digging in her heels over demands that North Korea apologize for injuring two border guards with land mines earlier this month. She has insisted that the South's loudspeaker propaganda will not end until the apology is carried out, despite the North's threats of military action if the broadcasts do not cease. "This is a matter that concerns our national security and the safety of our people," Park's office reported her as saying. "We will never back down even if the North continues to escalate the provocative situation and threaten our security, as it often has in the past."

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Jeva Lange

Jeva Lange was the executive editor at TheWeek.com. She formerly served as The Week's deputy editor and culture critic. She is also a contributor to Screen Slate, and her writing has appeared in The New York Daily News, The Awl, Vice, and Gothamist, among other publications. Jeva lives in New York City. Follow her on Twitter.