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North Korea claims US submarine visit to South Korea is a ‘rehearsal’ for further deployment

BUSAN (UPI) – The North Korean government has called a recent visit of the US submarine Michigan to South Korea a “rehearsal” for the further deployment of nuclear submarines around the Korean peninsula.

Lieutenant Commander Samuel Boyle of Submarine Group Seven said in a statement last week that the Ohio-class guided-missile submarine USS Michigan visited the port of Busan in South Korea on June 16.

“The port visit in Busan reflects the United States’ commitment to the Indo-Pacific region, and compliments the many exercises, training, operations and other military cooperation activities conducted by US submarine forces with our [South Korean] allies,” Boyle said at the time.

The USS Michigan is one of the US Navy’s four Ohio-class guided-missile submarines. It is more than 560 feet long and weighs more than 18,000 tons when submerged, making it one of the largest submarines in the world.

Kang Jin Song, an international affairs analyst in North Korea, issued a statement Saturday blasting the port visit and claiming that “US strategic assets are expanding the scope of their manoeuvers in the air and sea and underwater around the Korean peninsula.”

“Such reckless expanded deployment of strategic assets targeted at a belligerent country on the Korean peninsula, where a touch-and-go nuke-for-nuke dynamical structure exists, presupposes irretrievable catastrophic consequences to peace and security in the region and the rest of the world,” Kang said.

Kang added that “it is a matter of time that US strategic nuclear submarines are deployed on the Korean peninsula following Michigan.”

“The reality in which the US and its followers’ worrying military activities are expanding from time to time in their scale and manner urgently requires the DPRK to take more pre-emptive defence measures to protect the security interests of the state with clear actions which the hostile forces can perceive,” Kang said.

The visit of the USS Michigan to South Korea marked the first time in almost six years that an SSGN has stopped in the country and comes after Pyongyang fired two short-range ballistic missiles on Thursday evening.

The news came as senior Russian diplomats met with North Korea’s vice foreign minister Im Chon Il and China’s Foreign Minister Qin Gang on Sunday in the aftermath of the Wagner rebellion.

South Korea Navy sailors celebrate the arrival of the Ohio-class guided-missile submarine USS Michigan (SSGN 727) in Busan. PHOTO: UPI SOURCE