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British submarine arrives in Busan ahead of aircraft carrier's port call

The HMS Artful, a nuclear-powered fleet submarine accompanying the British Royal Navy's HMS Queen Elizabeth aircraft carrier, is docked at a naval base in Busan on Thursday. (Yonhap)
The HMS Artful, a nuclear-powered fleet submarine accompanying the British Royal Navy's HMS Queen Elizabeth aircraft carrier, is docked at a naval base in Busan on Thursday. (Yonhap)
BUSAN/SEOUL -- A British nuclear-powered submarine accompanying the HMS Queen Elizabeth aircraft carrier has arrived in the southern port city of Busan, the South Korean Navy said Thursday.

The HMS Artful submarine docked at the port of the Naval Operations Command in Busan early Wednesday ahead of the aircraft carrier's port call later this month, naval officials said.

The submarine plans to examine its equipment and load munitions. Its crew members are taking COVID-19 tests, they said.

"We will implement anti-COVID-19 measures during their stay in close cooperation with the health authorities. No joint activities with our Navy are planned," defense ministry spokesman Boo Seung-chan said during a regular press briefing.

He also said South Korea and Britain are coordinating details of the HMS Queen Elizabeth's planned port call.

The 64,000-ton Queen Elizabeth and its strike group embarked on a seven-month world tour in May.

As part of Britain's efforts to boost its involvement in the Asia-Pacific region, the fleet has conducted joint exercises with India and Singapore and made a port call to the Pacific island of Guam. After visiting Busan, the aircraft carrier is scheduled to travel to Japan in September.

Britain also plans to permanently assign two offshore patrol vessels to the region later this year.

North Korea last week slammed the carrier group's deployment as a provocation that would escalate tensions in the Asia-Pacific. (Yonhap)
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