South Korean Navy Chief Visits U.S. Naval Base to Bolster Ties Amid North Korean Threats

SEOUL — In a historic visit aimed at reinforcing military cooperation against North Korea's escalating threats, South Korea's Chief of Naval Operations, Adm. Yang Yong-mo, toured a critical U.S. naval submarine base in Georgia, the South Korean Navy announced on Sunday. This marks the first visit by a South Korean naval chief to the Naval Submarine Base Kings Bay, a strategic site housing key nuclear submarines on the southeastern coast of the United States.

According to Yonhap News Agency, Adm. Yang's visit on Friday (local time) to the base, which operates nuclear ballistic missile submarines (SSBNs), underscores the importance of the sea-based component of the U.S. nuclear triad, which also comprises intercontinental ballistic missiles and strategic bombers. The admiral's tour of the USS Alaska (SSBN-732), an Ohio-class ballistic missile submarine, facilitated discussions with U.S. Navy officials on enhancing the allies' combined military exercises and cooperation to counteract the nuclear and missile threats posed by North Korea.

During the visit, both parties reiterated the United States' steadfast commitment to extending deterrence to South Korea, employing a comprehensive defense strategy that includes nuclear capabilities. This assertion reaffirms the allies' dedication to safeguarding South Korea through a robust military partnership and strategic deterrence against potential aggressions.

Additionally, Adm. Yang's engagement with Adm. Lisa Franchetti, his American counterpart, on Thursday focused on addressing the challenges posed by North Korea and enhancing maritime collaboration. Adm. Franchetti emphasized the unwavering security pledge of the United States to South Korea, stressing the significance of improving the interoperability and combined readiness of both navies in navigating an increasingly complex security landscape.

Adm. Franchetti's remarks highlighted the United States' commitment to utilizing its full defense arsenal, including nuclear, conventional, missile defense, and other advanced non-nuclear capabilities, to provide extended deterrence for the Republic of Korea (ROK). This visit and the discussions therein symbolize a pivotal moment in the ongoing efforts to fortify the military alliance between South Korea and the United States in the face of persistent threats from the North.

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