The US, in response to the recent space rocket launch by Pyongyang, has sent a nuclear-powered submarine to South Korea, a spokesperson from Seoul's Armed Forces said on Thursday.
The USS North Carolina, a Virginia-class submarine with over eight years in service and with a cruising speed of 46 kph, can carry Tomahawk cruise missiles and submarine-launched torpedoes, Efe news reported.
With the deployment of this vessel in South Korean waters, the US seeks to "reassert its commitment to the defense of South Korea," and "send a warning message," to North Korea, the spokesperson added.
The spokesperson claimed the US is also considering dispatching two new combat aircraft with stealth capabilities, possibly a B-2 bomber and an F-22 Raptor fighter plane, to South Korea.
The dispatch of the submarine is being seen as a response to the North Korean space satellite launch carried out aboard a long-range rocket on Sunday, an action that was fiercely condemned by both Seoul and Washington, who believe it to be a veiled missile test in violation of UN Security Council resolutions.
The US deploys a permanent force of 28,500 troops in South Korea to defend its ally against North Korean aggression in an arrangement that dates back to the end of the 1950-53 Korean War.