North Korea Launches Missiles as U.S. Nuclear Submarine Docks at South's Port

  • Bureau
  • 11:43 AM, July 19, 2023
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North Korea Launches Missiles as U.S. Nuclear Submarine Docks at South's Port
Ohio-class ballistic-missile submarine USS Kentucky (SSBN 737)

North Korea fired two short-range ballistic missiles eastwards early on Wednesday, the South Korean military said, just hours after a U.S. Navy nuclear submarine arrived in a South Korean port for the first time in four decades.

Japanese Defense Minister Yasukazu Hamada told reporters the first missile reached an altitude of 50 km and covered a range of 550 km, while the second one rose as high as 50 km and flew 600 km.

U.S. Navy’s Ohio class nuclear-armed ballistic missile submarine (SSBN) USS Kentucky made port in Busan earlier that day. Talks between U.S. and South Korea on coordinating responses in the event of a nuclear war with the North were scheduled to take place.

"We will make it impossible for North Korea to ever think of a nuclear provocation, and have clearly warned that if it does, it will lead to the end of its regime," said South Korean President Yoon Suk Yeol who was aboard the submarine.

South Korea's Joint Chiefs of Staff (JCS) said: "We strongly condemn North Korea's successive ballistic missile launches as grave provocative acts that undermine the peace and stability of the Korean Peninsula as well as the international community, and are a clear violation of U.N. Security Council resolutions.”

The U.S. Indo-Pacific Command said the launches “do not appear to pose an immediate threat” to itself and its allies but highlights “the destabilizing impact of North Korea's illicit weapons program.”

Commissioned in 1991, the Kentucky carries 20 Trident II D5 missiles, each of which can deliver up to eight nuclear warheads to targets as far as 12,000km away. It is one of 14 U.S. submarines capable of carrying ballistic missiles.

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