The United States deployed a nuclear-powered submarine capable of carrying around 150 Tomahawk missiles to South Korea on Friday, a day after North Korea resumed missile tests in protest of US and South Korean live-fire drills. South.
The arrival of the USS Michigan in South Korea, the first of its kind in six years, is part of a recent bilateral agreement to enhance the “regular visibility” of US strategic assets on the Korean Peninsula in response to the progress of North Korea’s nuclear program, according to South Korean officials.
With the deployment of the USS Michigan, the US and South Korean navies will conduct drills to increase their special operations capabilities and their joint ability to deal with growing nuclear threats from North Korea, the Defense Ministry said. South Korea in a statement.
It said the US submarine had reached the southeastern port city of Busan, but did not say how long it would remain in South Korean waters.
The USS Michigan is one of the largest submarines in the world. The Ohio-class guided-missile submarine can be armed with 150 Tomahawk missiles with a range of about 2,500 kilometers (1,550 miles) and is capable of launching special forces missions, according to the South Korean statement.
The South Korean and US militaries have been expanding their exercises in reaction to North Korea’s provocative series of missile tests since last year. North Korea has argued that it was forced to step up testing activities to counter expanded military exercises by its rivals that it sees as an invasion rehearsal, but experts say the North ultimately aims to modernize its arsenal. and increase their influence in eventual diplomacy.
In April, after their meeting in Washington, President Joe Biden and South Korean President Yoon Suk Yeol agreed that the United States would enhance “regular visibility of strategic assets on the Korean Peninsula.” Biden also stated that any nuclear attack by North Korea against the US or its allies would “result in the demise of any regime” that took such action.
The two leaders also announced other steps to bolster joint deterrence capabilities, such as the regular docking of a US nuclear ballistic missile submarine in South Korea; reinforcement of joint training exercises; and the establishment of a new nuclear advisory group. The nuclear ballistic missile submarine has not reached South Korea.
Kim Yo Jong, the powerful sister of North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, criticized the Biden-Yoon summit deals, saying they revealed the two countries’ “most hostile and aggressive will to action” against the North. She threatened to further strengthen the nuclear forces of her country.
North Korea fired two short-range ballistic missiles off its east coast on Thursday, shortly after it vowed to respond to firing exercises between South Korea and the United States that just ended near the heavily armed Korean border. .
They were the first weapons launches by North Korea since it attempted to launch its first spy satellite into orbit in late May. The launch failed when the rocket carrying the spy satellite crashed into the waters off the west coast of the Korean peninsula.
South Korea’s Defense Ministry said Friday that military search teams have salvaged what it believes to be part of the crashed North Korean rocket. The ministry released photos of the white metal cylinder, which some experts say would have been the rocket’s fuel tank.