President Yoon makes historic tour of US missile-armed submarine

President Yoon makes historic tour of US missile-armed submarine
President Yoon makes historic tour of US missile-armed submarine

President Yoon Suk Yeol on the afternoon of July 19 visited Busan’s Nam-gu to tour the USS Kentucky (SSBN-737), an Ohio-class ballistic missile submarine (SSBN) docked at the naval operations base of the Republic of Korea Fleet Command.

The SSBN is the first to dock in the country since 1981 as a follow-up measure to the Washington Declaration signed by President Yoon and Joe Biden, President of the U.S., in April.

“President Yoon is the first foreign leader to board a U.S. ballistic missile submarine including allied nations,” presidential spokesperson Lee Do Woon said in a news release. “This visit was planned following President Yoon’s intent to achieve ‘peace through strength’ based on the robust ROK-U.S. alliance.”

“Yesterday, Korea and the U.S. convened a meeting of our bilateral Nuclear Consultative Group as a tangible step in implementing the Washington Declaration, which President Biden and I adopted in April,” President Yoon said in a speech before boarding.

“Both sides discussed joint planning and execution of a nuclear operation integrating nuclear and non-nuclear assets and agreed to enhance the visibility of the deployment of American strategic assets around the Korean Peninsula.”

“The two countries will continue making overwhelming and resolute responses to North Korea’s escalating nuclear and missile threats through the NCG and regular deployment of strategic assets like SSBNs,” he added.

U.S. General Paul LaCamera, commander of the ROK-U.S. Combined Forces Command, called the USS Kentucky a strategic American asset for extended deterrence, adding that the first visit by an American SSBN to Korea in over 40 years shows the “ironclad U.S. commitment to defending the Republic of Korea.”

President Yoon and First Lady Kim Keon Hee on July 19 tour the USS Kentucky, an Ohio-class ballistic missile submarine, at the Busan Naval Base in Busan.

After his speech, President Yoon and v Kim Keon Hee toured the submarine for about 30 minutes with General LaCamara and spoke with the crew.

The president also visited the fleet command, where he met soldiers from both countries, and received a report on the Republic of Korea Navy’s operational readiness.

“For defending the front and rear of national territory and protecting the people’s lives and property at disaster sites, I thank members of the armed forces for their hard work and US Forces Korea personnel for their dedication to peace and stability on the Korean Peninsula,” he said.

President Yoon also ordered close bilateral cooperation to take the lead in forming a solid joint defense posture between the two militaries.

“Peace is not given for free and true peace is guaranteed by the overwhelming and powerful strength of the ROK-U.S. alliance,” he added.

By President Office Korea