June 16, 2023
SEOUL – The US Navy’s nuclear-powered submarine entered the southern port city of Busan on Friday, demonstrating the US commitment to strengthening extended deterrence as outlined in the April 26 Washington Declaration, South Korea’s Defense Ministry announced.
The USS Michigan, an Ohio-class nuclear-powered guided missile submarine (SSGN), was deployed by the US Navy to the Korean Peninsula as North Korea has continued its missile launches. The arrival of the US SSGN came a day after North Korea fired two short-range ballistic missiles towards the East Sea on Thursday afternoon.
The arrival of the US SSGN marks the first visit to the peninsula in over six years since October 2017.
“On the occasion of the visit by the US’ SSGN, both countries’ naval forces have planned joint special warfare training exercises to enhance their special operations capabilities and interoperability in response to the growing threat posed by North Korea,” the Defense Ministry said.
The USS Michigan is set to leave the port of Busan on June 22.
The USS Michigan is regarded as a “representative force of the US Navy, offering a significant level of surprise strike capabilities and special warfare capabilities based on specialized communication systems and covert maneuvering capabilities,” the ministry added.
The USS Michigan was commissioned as an Ohio-class ballistic missile submarine (SSBN) in 1982 and was later converted into an SSGN in 2007, along with three other nuclear-powered submarines.
South Korea’s Fleet Commander Vice Adm. Kim Myung-soo said that the visit of the US SSGN is a step towards implementing the agreement outlined in the Washington Declaration signed by South Korea President Yoon Suk Yeol and US President Joe Biden.
The Washington Declaration included the commitment to “further enhance the regular visibility of strategic assets to the Korean Peninsula.” The US also pledges to deploy a nuclear-armed ballistic missile submarine to South Korea, which has not taken place since the early 1980s, in the declaration.
“This visit serves as a demonstration of the overwhelming capabilities and posture of the South Korea-US alliance which seeks to achieve peace through strength,” Kim said.