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Korea to conduct joint naval drill amid tensions with N. Korea

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Sailors stand in formation waiting to bring the ship to life during the commissioning ceremony for the Virginia-class attack submarine USS Washington at Naval Station Norfolk

Pyongyang responded to the report through its state-run KCNA news agency, which said, "If the USA imperialists and the South Korean puppets ignite an aggressive nuclear war against us, it would only advance their own demise".

The submarine deployment to Korea occurred around the same time the United States deployed a B-1B bomber, with two F-15K fighter jets, to the peninsula for joint drills, South Korean news service Money Today reported Wednesday.

Anti-aircraft and anti-ship guns will be fired during the exercise, the navy added.

US Navy units participating in the exercise include the aircraft carrier USS Ronald Reagan (CVN-76) and two Arleigh Burke-class destroyers - USS Stethem and USS Mustin. The US Navy said in a statement that the drill is created to promote "communications, interoperability, and partnership" between the two militaries.

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It's a "regular, joint and combined exercise to counter North Korea's maritime threats and sharpen the interoperability of South Korea and the US", said Vice Admiral Jung Jin-seop, Commander of the South Korean Navy's Operations.

The nuclear-powered USS Michigan, a Ohio-class submarine, is expected to arrive in the South Korean port of Busan this weekend and is expected to take part in joint exercises with the USS Ronald Reagan and South Korean forces, Yonhap reported.

The U.S. Navy said the submarine is capable of "supporting Special Operation Forces (SOF) missions" and providing "unprecedented strike and special operation mission capabilities from a stealthy, clandestine platform".

The U.S. marine forces said the nuclear-powered attack submarine is also equipped with twelve vertical launch tubes for Tomahawk cruise missiles and four torpedo tubes.

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