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US nuclear submarine joins combined exercise in Korea

A fast-attack nuclear-powered US submarine has joined an annual combined military exercise in South Korea in the latest show of force against North Korea, a defense source here said Tuesday.

"The US Navy's USS Columbus (SSN-762) is participating in the Foal Eagle exercise," the official said.

USS Columbus, a US nuclear-powered submarine (Yonhap)
USS Columbus, a US nuclear-powered submarine (Yonhap)

It is the third high-profile strategic defense asset of the US to be deployed here for the drill after aircraft carrier USS Carl Vinson and two B-IB bombers.

The series of deployments came amid the Donald Trump administration's move to get tough on North Korea for its continued saber-rattling.

On his trip to Seoul last week, Secretary of State Rex Tillerson declared an end to the Barack Obama administration's strategic patience policy toward Pyongyang.

The secretary warned that all options, including military action, are on the table in dealing with the communist nation.

An official at the US Forces Korea later confirmed the deployment, saying it's among US Navy ships joining the bilateral exercise.

The exercise is aimed at reinforcing combined defense capabilities, especially "maritime interoperability and tactics, techniques and procedures," he added.

Other assets deployed here together as part of the carrier and its strike group include Carrier Air Wing 2, Arleigh Burke-class guided-missile destroyers USS Barry, USS Wayne E Meyer, USS McCampbell, USS Stethem and P-3/P-8 Maritime Patrol and Reconnaissance Aircraft from Commander, Task Force 72. (Yonhap)