SEOUL, South Korea – A U.S. nuclear-powered submarine, the USS Michigan, has docked in the port city of Busan, South Korea, marking the first visit of its kind in nearly six years. The deployment of the submarine comes in response to North Korea’s recent missile tests and is part of a bilateral agreement aimed at enhancing security on the Korean Peninsula. The USS Michigan’s arrival underscores the commitment of the United States and South Korea to jointly address the growing nuclear threats posed by North Korea.
The USS Michigan is one of the world’s largest submarines and is equipped with approximately 150 Tomahawk missiles, each with a range of about 2,500 kilometers (1,550 miles). This formidable Ohio-class guided-missile submarine is not only capable of launching missiles but also conducting special forces missions, further bolstering the joint capabilities of the U.S. and South Korean militaries.
The decision to deploy the USS Michigan follows the recent meeting between President Joe Biden of the United States and South Korean President Yoon Suk Yeol, during which they agreed to enhance the regular visibility of strategic assets in the region. President Biden emphasized that any nuclear attack by North Korea on the United States or its allies would result in severe consequences for the regime responsible. As part of their agreement, the two leaders also announced plans to strengthen joint deterrence capabilities through the periodic docking of a U.S. nuclear ballistic missile submarine in South Korea, the establishment of a nuclear consultative group, and the reinforcement of joint training exercises.
While North Korea has claimed that its missile tests are a response to perceived military threats and invasion rehearsals by the U.S. and South Korea, experts argue that the regime’s true objective is to modernize its arsenal and gain leverage in future diplomatic negotiations. Kim Yo Jong, the influential sister of North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, criticized the agreements reached between the United States and South Korea, characterizing them as hostile and aggressive actions against the North. She also warned of further strengthening North Korea’s nuclear forces in response.
The arrival of the USS Michigan coincides with North Korea’s launch of two short-range ballistic missiles off its east coast, which occurred shortly after the conclusion of joint firing drills by South Korea and the United States near the heavily armed border. These missile launches followed a failed attempt by North Korea to launch a spy satellite in the previous month. South Korea’s Defense Ministry has recovered part of the crashed North Korean rocket, believed to be the fuel tank.
The presence of the USS Michigan in South Korean waters demonstrates the commitment of the United States to its alliance with South Korea and its determination to maintain stability in the region. By enhancing joint operational capabilities and conducting drills to counter North Korea’s nuclear threats, the U.S. and South Korea aim to deter aggression and promote peace on the Korean Peninsula.
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