US nuclear-armed submarine makes first port call in South Korea in decades

Seoul, July 18 (EFE).- A US nuclear-armed ballistic missile submarine arrived in South Korea on Tuesday as Washington seeks to strengthen war deterrent mechanisms on the Korean Peninsula and across the Indo-Pacific region.

“An American nuclear submarine is making port in Busan today,” Kurt Campbell, the White House coordinator for the Indo-Pacific, told reporters in Seoul.

The submarine made the port call in South Korea days after North Korea claimed to have test-fired a solid-fueled intercontinental ballistic missile.

It is the first port call of an American nuclear submarine to South Korea since the 1980s, said Campbell after attending the inaugural Nuclear Consultative Group (NCG) meeting.

Under the NCG, Washington and Seoul seek to coordinate responses in case of a North Korean nuclear attack.

The creation of NCG was part of a joint declaration signed by US President Joe Biden and his South Korean counterpart Yoon Suk Yeol during a summit in Washington in April.

The deployment of the nuclear submarine is part of Washington’s efforts to strengthen its so-called “extended deterrence” mechanism on the Korean peninsula and in the Indo-Pacific region to protect Seoul and discourage Pyongyang from developing nuclear weapons.

In April, Biden said the nuclear submarine would be in South Korea temporarily to reinforce the periodic deployment of US strategic assets, including nuclear-powered aircraft carriers and bombers.

Last week, The North Korean defense ministry condemned the US plan to send a nuclear submarine to South Korea.

Kim Jong-un’s sister Kim Yo-jong accused the US of aerial incursions and threatened Washington with a strong response.

North Korea last week test-fired its intercontinental ballistic missile, Hwasong-18, the hermit nation’s most sophisticated long-range weapon.

Tensions have risen on the Korean peninsula after the denuclearization negotiations failed in 2019.

Since then, Pyongyang has continuously rejected offers for dialogue. It conducted a record number of ballistic missile tests.

In return, Seoul and Washington have significantly increased their joint military drills and periodical deployment of US strategic assets in the region. EFE


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