Seoul, June 16 (EFE).- The USS Michigan, a United States nuclear-powered submarine with the capacity to launch guided missiles, arrived Friday in South Korea as part of Washington’s recently adopted defense commitments with Seoul.
The vessel arrived at the port of Busan (320 kilometers southeast of Seoul), the South Korean Defense Ministry reported in a statement.
It is the first time in six years such a submarine has arrived at a South Korean port, showing the commitment adopted by US President Joe Biden and South Korean counterpart Yoon Suk-yeol through the so-called Washington declaration to reinforce deterrence mechanisms against North Korea.
“The US SSGN visit to South Korea is aimed at substantially implementing what was agreed to in the Washington declaration made in April to enhance regular visibility of strategic assets on the Korean Peninsula,” Vice Admiral Kim Myung-soo said.
The arrival of the Ohio-class submarine in South Korea “demonstrates the overwhelming capabilities and readiness of the alliance between (South) Korea and the US to achieve peace through force,” he added.
The USS Michigan, with a length of 170 meters and a weight of 18,000 tons, is capable of carrying 154 Tomahawk cruise missiles, with a range of up to 2,500 kilometers.
The submarine will remain in South Korea until Thursday, according to a confidential source told the Yonhap news agency.
It comes a day after North Korea launched two short-range ballistic missiles – its first such launch in two months – in apparent protest at the largest live-fire exercises Washington and Seoul have conducted to date and which ended Thursday.
The peninsula has experienced historic highs of tension since last year, when North Korea, which has refused to return to dialogue, carried out a record number of missile tests and the allies resumed their large combined exercises. EFE