US nuclear sub puts up power show in South Korea as North plays missiles

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The Ohio-class ballistic-missile submarine USS Alaska (SSBN 732) returns to Naval Submarine Base Kings Bay following a patrol, in Kings Bay, Georgia. — Reuters
The Ohio-class ballistic-missile submarine USS Alaska (SSBN 732) returns to Naval Submarine Base Kings Bay following a patrol, in Kings Bay, Georgia. — Reuters

  • Seoul, Washington ramp up cooperation citing threats from North.
  • US nuclear submarine making port in Busan today: White House
  • "North's aggression on South will be met with decisive response."


As North Korea has increased the frequency of test-firing its long-range missiles, leading tensions to spiral in the region, a US nuclear-capable submarine visited South Korea for the first time in more than four decades, said a White House official Tuesday, in a show of power.

The bilateral relations between the South and the North are at their lowest with no top communication as Pyongyang's leader Kim Jong Un urged for increased weapons development, including tactical ones.

Citing the threats, Seoul and Washington have ramped up military cooperation, staging joint military drills with advanced stealth jets and US strategic assets.

General view during the test firing of what state media report is a North Korean new type of intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) in this undated photo released on March 24, 2022. — Reuters
General view during the test firing of what state media report is a North Korean "new type" of intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) in this undated photo released on March 24, 2022. — Reuters

They held Tuesday the first Nuclear Consultative Group (NCG) meeting in the South Korean capital, which aims to improve nuclear coordination between the two countries and boost combat readiness against North Korea.

"As we speak, an American nuclear submarine is making port in Busan today, the first visit of American nuclear submarine in decades," White House Indo-Pacific coordinator Kurt Campbell told reporters after the meeting.

The South Korean and American flags fly next to each other at Yongin, South Korea. — Reuters/File
The South Korean and American flags fly next to each other at Yongin, South Korea. — Reuters/File

The last time Washington deployed one of its nuclear-capable submarines to South Korea was in 1981.

Washington announced it would deploy a submarine capable of launching ballistic missiles with nuclear warheads to the Korean peninsula in April, while South Korean President Yoon Suk Yeol was on a state visit, but did not specify a timeline.

"The US side demonstrated strong resolve that in case the North attacks the South with nuclear weapons it will be met with immediate, overwhelming and decisive countermeasures, leading to the demise of its regime," Kim Tae-hyo, the national security adviser who co-chaired the NCG meeting with Campbell, told reporters.

North Korea baulks at having US nuclear assets deployed around the Korean peninsula.

Kim Yo Jong, the powerful sister of leader Kim Jong Un, said Monday that such actions would only "make the (Democratic People's Republic of Korea) go farther away" from possible talks.

North Korea was "ready for resolutely countering any acts of violating its sovereignty", said Kim Yo Jong, who also dismissed holding talks with the United States as a "daydream".