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DATE=12/17/98 TYPE=CORRESPONDENT REPORT NUMBER=2-243219 TITLE=KOREAS / SUBMARINE (L-ONLY) BYLINE=JENNIFER VEALE DATELINE=SEOUL CONTENT= VOICED AT: INTRO: SOUTH KOREA'S NAVAL FORCES SANK A NORTH KOREAN SUBMARINE IN A PREDAWN EXCHANGE OF FIRE ON FRIDAY. AS JENNIFER VEALE REPORTS FROM SEOUL, THE INCIDENT, WHICH BEGAN NEAR THE PORT OF YOSU IS THE LATEST IN A SERIES OF INCURSIONS BY NORTH KOREA INTO THE SOUTH'S WATERS. TEXT: SOUTH KOREA'S DEFENSE MINISTRY SAYS ITS FORCES EXCHANGED GUN-FIRE WITH A NORTH KOREAN SUBMERSIBLE VESSEL, CAPABLE OF CARRYING UP TO SIX CREW-MEMBERS. IT SAYS ONE NORTH KOREAN WAS KILLED AND THE VESSEL WAS SUNK. DEFENSE OFFICIALS SAY THE NORTH KOREAN VESSEL WAS FIRST SPOTTED IN SOUTH KOREAN WATERS LATE THURSDAY EVENING ,320 KILOMETERS SOUTH OF THE CAPITAL, SEOUL. TWELVE SOUTH KOREAN NAVY SHIPS AND THREE NAVY FIGHTER JETS CHASED THE VESSEL FOR FIVE AND ONE HALF HOURS, AS THE VESSEL WAS TRYING TO FLEE. THEY EXCHANGED FIRE WITH THE SUB AND THE BOAT WENT DOWN IN WATERS OFF THE SOUTHERN EDGE OF THE KOREAN PENINSULA. OFFICIALS SAY THE DEAD BODY OF ONE ARMED CREWMAN WAS FOUND NEAR THE SUBMARINE . BUT THE DEFENSE MINISTRY SAYS IT SUSPECTS THAT OTHER NORTH KOREAN CREWMEN WERE ABOARD THE VESSEL, AS WELL. THE AREA HAS BEEN PUT ON HIGH ALERT, AS PATROL BOATS SEARCH THE SURROUNDING WATERS FOR OTHER BODIES. TROOPS ON SHORE ARE LOOKING FOR SURVIVORS. IT IS THE FOURTH INCURSION SINCE JUNE, BY A SUSPECTED NORTH KOREAN SPY VESSEL. IN THE JUNE INCIDENT, A NORTH KOREAN SUB WAS CAPTURED AFTER BECOMING SNAGGED IN FISHING NETS OFF SOUTH KOREA'S EAST COAST. NINE CREW MEMBERS WERE FOUND DEAD INSIDE. SOON AFTERWARDS, THE WET-SUIT-CLAD BODY OF A NORTH KOREAN COMMANDO WAS FOUND WASHED ASHORE AT THE PORT OF TONGHAE, IN THE SAME AREA. IN LATE NOVEMBER, SOUTH KOREAN NAVY VESSELS CHASED A SUSPECTED NORTH KOREAN SPY SHIP BACK ACROSS THE BORDER, ONE DAY BEFORE PRESIDENT CLINTON'S STATE VISIT TO SEOUL. SEOUL OFFICIALS SAY THE NORTH ROUTINELY USES SUBMARINES TO DROP OFF OR PICK UP SPIES ALONG THE SOUTH KOEAN COASTLINE. (SIGNED) NEB/ JV/GC/PLM 17-Dec-98 11:30 PM EST (0430 UTC) NNNN Source: Voice of America .