News / Asia

    Beijing Silent on Washington’s Show of Force in Korea

    A U.S. Air Force B-52 flies over Osan Air Base in Pyeongtaek, South Korea, Jan. 10, 2016.
    A U.S. Air Force B-52 flies over Osan Air Base in Pyeongtaek, South Korea, Jan. 10, 2016.
    Brian Padden

    While China remains non-committal on how to respond to North Korea’s fourth nuclear test, the United States and South Korea are exercising their limited options to increase deterrence and punitive measures against the Kim Jong Un government. 

    Following Washington’s deployment of a B-52 bomber capable of carrying nuclear weapons to the Korean peninsula over the weekend, the two militaries are considering additional demonstrations of force and increasing their joint military presence in the region. 

    "The United States and South Korea are continuously and closely having discussions on additional deployment of strategic assets on the Korean peninsula," said Kim Min-seok, South Korea’s Defense Ministry spokesman on Monday. 

    The comments are adding to media speculation that Washington could move the USS Ronald Reagan, its nuclear-powered aircraft carrier stationed in Japan, into Korean waters and also bring in B-2 stealth bombers and F-22 stealth fighter jets. 

    U.S. forces in South Korea were also put on their highest level of alert on Monday. 

    The U.S. military has nearly 30,000 troops in South Korea, but can also quickly deploy additional conventional forces and armaments including nuclear weapons from regional bases in Japan and Guam. 

    South Korea and Japan also used their shared military hotline for the first time in the aftermath of North Korea's nuclear test.  The two military allies of the United States have been working to overcome strained bilateral relations over Japan’s conduct during World War II to better deal with the increasing nuclear threat they both face from North Korea. 

    No answer from China 

    In contrast to its outreach to Washington and Tokyo, Seoul’s Defense Ministry has so far been unable to contact its counterpart in Beijing.  

    “At this point, China’s Defense Ministry is not speaking on the phone with any countries. So we have requested for a call and waiting for a response,” said Kim Min-seok. 

    North Korea’s recent nuclear test has further strained its relationship with China, its key provider of economic aid and trade.  Beijing criticized Pyongyang for violating again a U.N. ban on its nuclear program, but is also reluctant to support strong sanctions or military measures that escalate the risk of conflict and instability on its border. 

    North Korea analyst Shin In-kyun with the Korea Defense Network in Seoul said China is also conflicted about the increased U.S.-South Korean military moves in the region.

    “If China protests against our self-defensive military responses, the relation between China and South Korea will be frozen. So I think it is difficult for China to show such response against us,” said Shin. 

    FILE - A Chinese-built fence near a concrete marker depicting the North Korean and Chinese national flags with the words "China North Korea Border" at a crossing in the Chinese border town of Tumen in eastern China's Jilin province.
    FILE - A Chinese-built fence near a concrete marker depicting the North Korean and Chinese national flags with the words "China North Korea Border" at a crossing in the Chinese border town of Tumen in eastern China's Jilin province.

    South Korean measures 

    South Korea’s Unification Ministry also took measures Monday to further limit the number of its citizens access the jointly run Kaesong industrial complex where approximately 120 South Korean firms employ over 53,000 North Korean workers.

    "The move is aimed at securing the safety of South Koreans as the North is expected to react to Seoul's resumption of anti-North Korean loudspeaker broadcasts," said Unification Ministry Spokesman Jeong Joon-hee. 

    A business association representing South Korean companies in the Kaesong complex is urging the Seoul government not to shut down their operation.  

    Inter-Korea border tensions remain high as South Korea continues to run loudspeaker broadcasts inside the demilitarized zone (DMZ) that criticize North Korean leader Kim Jong Un. Last year the two sides exchanged artillery fire because of the loudspeakers before coming to an agreement to end further provocations; an agreement that Seoul says Pyongyang violated with its recent nuclear test.

    North Korea has reportedly set up some loudspeaker stations of its own in the border area to drown out the South’s broadcasts. 

    South Korea’s Blue House announced Monday that President Park Geun-hye will make a public statement Wednesday and is expected to announce new punitive measures against North Korea. 

    North Korean Leader Kim Jong Un reiterated Monday his claim that last week’s test was of a miniaturized hydrogen bomb.  This claim has been largely dismissed by experts who argue the yield was too low for a full-fledged thermonuclear device. 

    North Korea state television KCNA broadcast a photo of  the North Korean leader with hundreds of scientists, workers and officials who participated in the latest test. KCNA said Kim congratulated the group for “succeeding in the first H-bomb test... and bringing about a great, historic event.”

    Youmi Kim in Seoul contributed to this report.

    You May Like

    Top US General: Turkish Media Report ‘Absurd'

    General Dunford rejects ‘irresponsible' claims of coup involvement by former four-star Army General Campbell, who led NATO forces in Afghanistan before retiring earlier this year

    Video Saving Ethiopian Children Thought to Be Cursed

    'Omo Child' looks at efforts of one African man to stop killings of ‘mingi’ children

    Protests Over Western Troops Threaten Libyan 'Unity' Government

    Fears mount that Islamist foes of ‘unity' government plan to declare a revolutionaries' council in Tripoli

    This forum has been closed.
    Comments
         
    There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    London’s Financial Crown at Risk as Rivals Eye Brexit Opportunitiesi
    X
    VOA News
    July 25, 2016 5:09 PM
    By most measures, London rivals New York as the only true global financial center. But Britain’s vote to leave the European Union – so-called ‘Brexit’ – means the city could lose its right to sell services tariff-free across the bloc, risking its position as Europe’s financial headquarters. Already some banks have said they may shift operations to the mainland. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
    Video

    Video London’s Financial Crown at Risk as Rivals Eye Brexit Opportunities

    By most measures, London rivals New York as the only true global financial center. But Britain’s vote to leave the European Union – so-called ‘Brexit’ – means the city could lose its right to sell services tariff-free across the bloc, risking its position as Europe’s financial headquarters. Already some banks have said they may shift operations to the mainland. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
    Video

    Video Recycling Lifeline for Lebanon’s Last Glassblowers

    In a small Lebanese coastal town, one family is preserving a craft that stretches back millennia. The art of glass blowing was developed by Phoenicians in the region, and the Khalifehs say they are the only ones keeping the skill alive in Lebanon. But despite teaming up with an eco-entrepreneur and receiving an unexpected boost from the country’s recent trash crisis the future remains uncertain. John Owens reports from Sarafand.
    Video

    Video Migrants Continue to Risk Lives Crossing US Border from Mexico

    In his speech Thursday before the Republican National Convention, the party’s presidential candidate, Donald Trump, reiterated his proposal to build a wall along the U.S.-Mexico border if elected. Polls show a large percentage of Americans support better control of the nation's southwestern border, but as VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from the border town of Nogales in the Mexican state of Sonora, the situation faced by people trying to cross the border is already daunting.
    Video

    Video In State of Emergency, Turkey’s Erdogan Focuses on Spiritual Movement

    The state of emergency that Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has declared is giving him even more power to expand a purge that has seen an estimated 60,000 people either arrested or suspended from their jobs. VOA Europe correspondent Luis Ramirez reports from Istanbul.
    Video

    Video Calm the Waters: US Doubles Down Diplomatic Efforts in ASEAN Meetings

    The United States is redoubling diplomatic efforts and looking to upcoming regional meetings to calm the waters after an international tribunal invalidated the legal basis of Beijing's extensive claims in the South China Sea. VOA State Department correspondent Nike Ching has the story.
    Video

    Video Four Brother Goats Arrive in Brooklyn on a Mission

    While it's unusual to see farm animals in cities, it's become familiar for residents of Brooklyn, New York, to see a little herd of goats. Unlike gas-powered mowing equipment, goats remove invasive weeds quietly and without adding more pollution to the air. As Faiza Elmasry tells us, this is a pilot program and if it proves to be successful, the goat gardener program will be extended to other areas of New York. Faith Lapidus narrates.
    Video

    Video Scientists in Poland Race to Save Honeybees

    Honeybees are in danger worldwide. Causes of what's known as colony collapse disorder range from pesticides and loss of habitat to infections. But scientists in Poland say they are on track to finding a cure for one of the diseases. VOA’s George Putic reports.
    Video

    Video Wall Already Runs Along Parts of US-Mexico Border

    The Republican Party’s presidential nominee, Donald Trump, gained the support of many voters by saying he would build a wall to keep undocumented immigrants and drugs from coming across the border from Mexico. Critics have called his idea impractical and offensive to Mexico, while supporters say such a bold approach is needed to control the border. VOA’s Greg Flakus has more from the border town of Nogales, Arizona.
    Video

    Video New HIV Tests Emphasize Rapid Results

    As the global fight against AIDS intensifies, activists have placed increasing importance on getting people to know their HIV status. Some companies are developing new HIV testing methods designed to be quick, easy and accurate. Thuso Khumalo looks at the latest methods, presented at the International AIDS conference in Durban, South Africa.
    Video

    Video African Youth with HIV Urge More Support

    HIV, the virus that causes AIDS, is the top killer of teens in sub-Saharan Africa. But many youths say their experience with the virus is unique and needs to be addressed differently than the adult epidemic. VOA South African Correspondent Anita Powell reports.
    Video

    Video Pop-Up Art Comes to Your Living Room, Backyard and Elsewhere

    Around the world, independent artists and musicians wrestle with a common problem: where to exhibit or perform? Traditional spaces such as museums and galleries are reserved for bigger names, and renting a space is not feasible for many. Enter ArtsUp, which connects artists with venue owners. Whether it’s a living room, restaurant, office or even a boat, pop-up events are bringing music and art to unexpected places. Tina Trinh has more.
    Video

    Video Scotland’s Booming Whisky Industry Fears Brexit Hangover

    After Britain’s vote to leave the European Union, Scotland’s government wants to break away from the United Kingdom – fearing the nation’s exports are at risk. Among the biggest of these is whisky. Henry Ridgwell reports on a time of turmoil for those involved in the ancient art of distilling Scotland’s most famous product.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora