January 20, 2016 09:52
The U.S. has deployed a state-of-the-art guided-missile destroyer and nuclear-powered attack submarine to the 7th Fleet based in Yokosuka, Japan.
The 7th Fleet is part of the Pacific Fleet and currently the largest naval grouping the U.S. deploys overseas.
The deployments are believed to be a response to the growing North Korean nuclear and missile threat as well as China's moves to widen its naval reach.
A military source on Tuesday said the USS Barry, an 8,900-ton-class destroyer, left the Norfolk naval base on the U.S. east coast on Dec. 12 and is en route to the 7th Fleet. It is armed with SM-3 and SM-6 guided missiles.
The USS Charlotte, a 6,900-ton nuclear-powered submarine, apparently arrived at Sasebo naval base in Japan on Jan. 5 and will be based there for the next six months. The Los Angeles-class fast-attack sub can launch four torpedoes, 12 Tomahawk cruise missiles and Harpoon anti-ship missiles.
Another nuclear-powered submarine, the 6,100-ton USS City of Corpus Christi, was deployed with the 7th Fleet last week.
The submarines would be capable of surreptitiously approaching the North Korean coast to launch precision strikes against nuclear and missile bases.
A Defense Ministry official here said Seoul and the U.S. are also discussing the deployment of B-52 long-range bombers and other strategic weapons to the Korean Peninsula in response to North Korea's nuclear test earlier this month.
The U.S. Navy also said an aircraft carrier, the USS John C. Stennis, will be deployed to the western Pacific for seven months.
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