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(LEAD) U.S. nuclear-powered submarine, USS Mississippi, arrives in Busan port

All News 18:02 June 13, 2016

(ATTN: ADDS more details in last 3 paras)

SEOUL, June 13 (Yonhap) – The USS Mississippi (SSN-782), a nuclear reactor-powered United States submarine, entered the port of Busan on Monday as part of the vessel’s maiden voyage to the Asian region, the U.S. military said Monday.

The 7,800-ton Virginia-class attack submarine is one of the U.S. Navy's newest vessels, having started its mission with the U.S. Pacific Fleet in June 2012.

"With a crew of approximately 141 sailors, the Mississippi will conduct a multitude of missions while maintaining proficiency of the latest capabilities of the submarine fleet," the Submarine Group Seven said in its statement.

The vessel's max submerged speed is 34 knots and it is equipped with 12 vertical missile launchers. It can carry both torpedoes and Tomahawk cruise missiles.

"The Mississippi's visit is essential to the strengthening and broadening of the U.S. and Republic of Korea’s bilateral relationship, while expanding the existing strong Navy-to-Navy bond," the statement said.

The nuclear submarine's visit marks the latest U.S. strategic military asset deployed in South Korea since North Korea's provocative nuclear test in January.

In a show of force, the U.S. sent a B-52 strategic bomber and four F-22 stealth jets to South Korea in January and February, followed by the temporary deployment of nuclear-propelled attack submarine the USS North Carolina and aircraft carrier USS John C. Stennis.

Sources said the USS Mississippi will engage in a joint exercise with South Korean forces while in the region. How long the submarine will stay in the waters off South Korea was not disclosed.

pbr@yna.co.kr
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