The nuclear-powered USS Nimitz arrived in Busan on Tuesday for a port call amid growing nuclear threats from North Korea. Photo by Thomas Maresca/UPI
BUSAN, South Korea, March 28 (UPI) -- The nuclear-powered USS Nimitz arrived in the southeastern port city of Busan on Monday in the latest demonstration of military might and extended deterrence against a growing nuclear threat from North Korea.
The Nimitz and its Carrier Strike Group 11 docked at the Busan naval base one day after conducting training exercises in international waters south of the Peninsula with the South Korean navy.
The visit is the first in ten years for the 1,100-foot carrier and comes as North Korea unveiled new, smaller tactical nuclear warheads on Tuesday.
State-run Korean Central News Agency released images of North Korean leader Kim Jong Un inspecting the new warheads, which were identified as Hwasan-31 by posters visible on the wall.
Kim called for the military to ramp up the production of weapon-grade nuclear materials in order to build up the regime's arsenal "exponentially," according to KCNA.
Pyongyang fired a pair of short-range ballistic missiles on Monday, the latest in a flurry of weapons tests that have coincided with U.S.-South Korea joint military exercises over recent weeks.
North Korea also claimed on Tuesday that it successfully completed a three-day test of its "underwater nuclear attack drone," called Haneil-1, according to KCNA.
Rear Adm. Christopher Sweeney, the commander of the carrier strike group, said that the latest provocations from North Korea would not deter the United States and its allies.
"We always talk about how the DPRK are furthering their capability -- so are we," Sweeney said in a briefing with reporters on the flight deck of the Nimitz.
The Democratic People's Republic of Korea is the official name of North Korea.
"We are prepared for any contingency and we train at all levels in all domains, from space to the undersea, with our allies," Sweeney said.
"We're not going to be coerced, we're not going to be bullied," he added. "And we're not going anywhere."
The Nimitz is accompanied by a pair of Arleigh Burke-class destroyers, USS Decatur and USS Wayne E. Meyer, and combat aircraft including F/A-18 fighters and E-2 Hawkeye early warning aircraft.
The port call marks the second in six months by an American carrier strike group. The USS Ronald Reagan visited Busan in September, as Washington and Seoul have strengthened military ties amid the North's growing military threats.
The allies are currently holding their joint Ssangyong amphibious landing exercise, which kicked off last week and is scheduled to run until April 3.
South Korean sailors welcome the nuclear-powered USS Nimitz aircraft carrier to Busan, South Korea, on March 28, 2023. Photo by Thomas Maresca/UPI | License Photo