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U.S. nuclear submarine in S. Korea

2017/10/13 15:20

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By Lee Chi-dong

SEOUL, Oct. 13 (Yonhap) -- A guided-missile U.S. nuclear-powered submarine arrived in South Korea Friday for a routine visit, the U.S. Navy announced.

The Ohio-class guided-missile submarine USS Michigan (SSGN-727) arrived at the southern port of Busan as part of a regularly scheduled deployment to the Western Pacific, it said.

It marks the sub's first visit here in nearly six months.

"The U.S. and ROK (South Korea) navies have always enjoyed a strong relationship. Today, our relationship is stronger than it has ever been and our ironclad partnership is further reinforced by this visit from Michigan," said Rear Adm. Brad Cooper, who leads the U.S. Naval Forces Korea (CNFK). "Michigan Sailors were warmly welcomed by the ROK Navy today and I know they'll receive the same wonderful welcome from the local community during their visit to Busan."

  

The USS Michigan, a nuclear-powered submarine, arrives at the port of Busan in South Korea. (Yonhap) The USS Michigan, a nuclear-powered submarine, arrives at the port of Busan in South Korea. (Yonhap)

The sailors plan to experience South Korea's culture and history as well as engage in various community programs.

Reportedly armed with more than 150 Tomahawk tactical missiles with a range of around 2,000 km, the 18,000-ton Michigan is one of the largest submarines in the world. It's capable of precisely striking North Korea's core facilities in support of Special Operation Forces (SOF) missions.

The Navy said its guided-missile submarines provide the Navy with unprecedented strike and special operation mission capabilities from a stealthy, clandestine platform.

"Throughout this deployment, the crew has been extremely professional and dedicated," said Capt. Gustavo Gutierrez, Michigan's commanding officer. "Everyone on board is mission ready, and I'm proud of being their commanding officer."

   The Michigan, homeported in Bremerton, Washington, and is forward deployed from Guam.

Meanwhile, the USS Ronald Reagan (CVN-76), an aircraft carrier, is scheduled to conduct joint drills with South Korea's warships in the East Sea next week.

lcd@yna.co.kr

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