USS Michigan is one of world's largest missile subs and is equipped with 154 tactical missiles.Staff, Yonhap News Agency, June 22
The U.S. nuclear-powered submarine USS Michigan made a port call Tuesday in South Korea's southeastern port city of Busan to conduct diverse missions and showcase its latest capabilities, the group in charge of its operation said.
The 18,000-ton submarine, one of the world's largest, arrived at a Busan base with some 165 crew members to "conduct a multitude of missions and showcase the latest capabilities of the submarine fleet," the U.S. Navy's Submarine Group Seven said in a release.
The submarine, which is based in Bremerton, Washington, and is forward deployed from Guam, last visited South Korea in May 2011.
As one of four Ohio-class guided-missile submarines, the USS Michigan provides the U.S. Navy with "unprecedented strike and special operation mission capabilities from a stealthy, clandestine platform," the group said.
Armed with up to 154 tactical missiles and equipped with superior communications capabilities, the submarine is also capable of launching missile strikes and supporting special operation forces' missions, it added.
"The Michigan is looking forward to a chance to meet up with its Republic of Korea Navy partners and learn about the culture of Korea," Capt. Erik Burian, the Michigan's commanding officer, was quoted by its public affairs office as saying.
The submarine's arrival here comes at a time when North Korea has been striving to beef up its underwater capabilities. Last month, Pyongyang claimed that it had successfully carried out a test of a submarine-launched ballistic missile, posing a fresh threat to the Korean Peninsula.