US To Deploy Nuclear Submarines Amid Rising Threats From North Korea

By Jason Hall

April 26, 2023

Nuclear submarine at sea at sunset. Submarine fleet
Photo: Getty Images

The United States plans to deploy nuclear-armed submarines to South Korea as part of its commitment to defend the ally country amid increased nuclear threats from neighboring North Korea, a U.S. official announced via NBC News.

The U.S. hasn't docked ballistic missile submarines in South Korea since the 1980s, but has recently focused on a "more visible" deterrence against North Korea supreme leader Kim Jong Un's regime, a senior administration official said. The move will also see the U.S. give South Korea a greater role in a possible retaliation to a nuclear attack.

President Joe Biden and South Korean President Yook Suk Yeol are reportedly expected to officially announce what will be known as 'The Washington Declaration' on Wednesday (April 26) in Washington, D.C., according to officials. The agreement won't involve the U.S. deploying nuclear weapons as it did during the Cold War, but will instead see it increase the number of military assets it sends to South Korea, which includes a nuclear-armed submarine and bombers, on a temporary basis. Officials compared the agreement to its prior cooperation with European allies during the Cold War.

Additionally, the declaration aims to improve joint training, information-sharing and military exercises aimed to deter and defend against North Korea, according to an official. North Korea had previously launched its first solid-fuel intercontinental ballistic missile earlier this month, which analysts claim would be a major step in building a nuclear arsenal that is more difficult to detect and capable of threatening any part of the U.S.

U.S. and South Korean officials also said North Korea was preparing to run its seventh nuclear test, having last undergone testing in 2017.

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