US deploying nuclear-powered submarine in S. Korea raises tensions
The US military deploys the USS Michigan of class SSGN to Busan, South Korea, further escalating tensions in the peninsula.
The US deployed the nuclear-powered guided missile submarine USS Michigan (SSGN 727) in Busan, South Korea, on Friday, further aggravating tensions in the Korean peninsula.
This marks the first stop in 6 years of a submarine of the SSGN class in South Korea, according to the country's military. It comes in line with the declaration signed by the US and South Korean presidents back in April, in which Washington pledged to utilize all its capabilities, including nuclear ones, to "protect" Seoul.
South Korea's Fleet Commander, Kim Myung-soo, said the submarine deployment is "intended to substantively implement the Washington declaration," adding that it also comes to "enhance the regular visibility of US strategic assets on the Korean Peninsula."
The US and South Korea have undertaken large-scale joint military drills since March, simulating large-scale bombing and invasion campaigns against the Democratic People's Republic of Korea.
The submarine's arrival in South Korea goes in part with the two countries' plan to "strengthen their special warfare abilities and interoperability," which they claim comes in response to the DPRK's "growing threats", the Joint Chiefs of Staff (JCS) stated.
The USS Michigan weighs around 18,000 tons and is 170 meters long with the capability of holding 150 Tomahawk missiles
The 18,000-ton submarine is around 170 m (560 feet) long and can be equipped with 150 Tomahawk cruise missiles with a range of 2,500 km according to the JCS.
In response to the increased acts of aggression, the DPRK launched yesterday two short-range ballistic missiles into the East Sea, which the Japanese parliamentary vice-minister of defense, Kimi Onoda, claimed fell inside Japan's exclusive economic zone that extends 200 nautical miles past the Japanese coast.
The DPRK has consistently warned against the expanded military activity at its borders, as it most recently said, "The US forces in South Korea and the puppet army are staging ‘combined joint firepower annihilation drill’ targeting the DPRK by massively mobilizing various types of offensive weapons and equipment," in a statement that further warned, "Our response to this is inevitable. Our army strongly denounces the provocative and irresponsible moves of the puppet military authorities escalating the military tension in the region despite its repeated warnings, and warns them solemnly."