A new US nuclear-powered submarine, the USS Annapolis, arrived early Monday morning on the South Korean island of Jeju just three days after another Washington submersible left the country at a time marked by the escalation of regional tension and the upcoming celebration of the 70th anniversary of the end of the Korean War (1950-53).
The USS Annapolis has arrived in Jeju to reload supplies, South Korean Navy spokesman Jang Do-Yeong explained at a press conference while on an unspecified operational mission.
The new presence occurs at a time due to the recent North Korean weapons tests and the recent visit of the USS Kentucky, which, unlike the USS Annapolis, can fire nuclear missiles, leaving South Korean waters on Friday, July 21.
Spokesman Jang added that “the defense authorities of the Republic of Korea (the official name of South Korea) and the US are holding consultations” about the possibility of the navies of both countries carrying out some joint exercise taking advantage of the visit of the USS Annapolis.
The submarine’s visit also occurs three days before the 70th anniversary of the end of the Korean War; an anniversary celebrated with special pomp in North Korea, where a great military parade in the capital, Pyongyang, has been preparing for months.
An editorial in the country’s main newspaper, Rodong, assured this Monday, ahead of the important anniversary, that “there can be no limit when it comes to strengthening military power” to guarantee the country’s self-defense.
After the failure of the 2019 denuclearization negotiations, tensions have risen again on the Korean peninsula, with Pyongyang rejecting any offer of dialogue and conducting a large record of missile tests, and Seoul and Washington resuming their large joint exercises and periodically deploying US strategic assets in the region.
Hyon Hee Shin