News / Asia

    Korea Tensions Mount As South Seizes North Fishing Boat

    South Korean army soldiers patrol along a barbed-wire fence in Paju, near the border with North Korea, South Korea, March 27, 2014.
    South Korean army soldiers patrol along a barbed-wire fence in Paju, near the border with North Korea, South Korea, March 27, 2014.
    VOA News
    Tensions continue to escalate on the Korean Peninsula, with both sides trading allegations and South Korea seizing a North Korean fishing boat that strayed into its waters.

    The South Korean military Thursday said the ship sailed nearly two kilometers south of the maritime border and refused warnings to return to the North.

    The three crewmembers have been taken into custody while officials in Seoul conduct an investigation. Officials say the men do not appear to be trying to defect and want to go home.

    Meanwhile, North Korea has made a blistering verbal attack on South Korean President Park Geun-hye, calling her a "faithful servant and stooge" of the U.S. and comparing her to a "blabbering" peasant woman.

    South Korea’s Unification Ministry spokesman Kim Eui-do said the verbal attack, published Thursday by the official Korean Central News Agency, violates a recent agreement between Seoul and Pyongyang to avoid slandering each other in public comments.

    “We find the comments deeply regrettable and lacking most basic civilities," said Kim. "We firmly call on North Korea not to repeat such rude violations [of an inter-Korean agreement].”

    But Koh Yoo-hwan, a professor at Dongguk University, says Pyongyang is making the same claim against the South.

    “North Koreans took [Ms.] Park’s comments as slander against them and they say it is a violation of the inter-Korean agreement,” he Koh.

    The North says the attack was in response to Ms. Park's speech this week at a nuclear summit at The Hague, where she warned Pyongyang's nuclear material could wind up in the hands of terrorists or spark a colossal nuclear accident.

    A North Korean government spokesman called the speech "dumb," saying Ms. Park should stop "rambling recklessly" if she wants improved relations. He also said the comments "violently trample" the agreement to stop slandering each other.

    That deal was reached last month during rare, high-level government talks. It also came just before the two sides resumed reunions between families separated by the 1950s Korean War, meetings that had not been held since 2010.

    Since then, both countries have made bold moves to demonstrate their military capabilities.

    On Thursday, South Korean and U.S. troops began a large-scale amphibious landing drill off the southeast coast of the Korean peninsula. Nearly 15,000 troops are taking part in the drill known as Ssang Yong, or Double Dragon, which is the largest of its kind since 1993.

    The 12-day landing drill is part of wider annual joint military exercises, known as Foal Eagle, which are set to last through April 18. Washington and Seoul say the drills are defensive, but Pyongyang says it views them as preparation to invade.

    In its own show of military might, the North has test-fired a flurry of rockets. The latest launch occurred Wednesday, when the North launched two mid-range Rodong missiles capable of striking Japan.

    The U.S., South Korea, and Japan have condemned the launch as a violation of United Nations Security Council resolutions prohibiting North Korea from testing ballistic missiles.

    The Security Council on Thursday plans to hold special a closed-door meeting to discuss a possible condemnation of the launch. Some diplomats have called for additional sanctions on the North.

    In the past, North Korea has responded to such moves by carrying out nuclear tests. It has completed three nuclear tests since 2006.

    South Korea's defense ministry said Wednesday it is monitoring the North for any signs of another nuclear test, but said none appeared to be imminent.

    This report was produced in collaboration with the VOA Korean service.

    You May Like

    Russian-Backed Offensive in Syria Pushes War to Tipping Point

    As threat to Aleppo and rebel forces grows, US plan to negotiate becomes less and less appealing for Syrian government, says one military analyst

    IS Runs Timber Smuggling Business in Afghanistan, Officials Say

    Government turning blind eye to smuggling, according to tribal leaders; Afghanistan's forest cover dropped by 50 percent in three decades, experts say

    Video White House Seeks $1.8 Billion to Combat Zika

    Obama administration says funding would 'support essential strategies to combat the virus' such as rapidly expanding mosquito control programs, accelerating vaccine research

    This forum has been closed.
    Comment Sorting
    Comments
         
    by: meanbill from: USA
    March 27, 2014 1:21 PM
    You give them a couple of kilometers, and then they'll take the whole damn sea? Like the Pilgrims did, when the American Indians gave them a little land, and then the Pilgrims took the whole damn country of America from them?

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    'No Means No' Program Targets Sexual Violence in Kenyai
    X
    February 08, 2016 4:30 PM
    The organizers of an initiative to reduce and stop rape in the informal settlements around Kenya's capital say their program is having marked success. Girls are taking self-defense classes while the boys are learning how to protect the girls and respect them. Lenny Ruvaga reports from Nairobi.
    Video

    Video 'No Means No' Program Targets Sexual Violence in Kenya

    The organizers of an initiative to reduce and stop rape in the informal settlements around Kenya's capital say their program is having marked success. Girls are taking self-defense classes while the boys are learning how to protect the girls and respect them. Lenny Ruvaga reports from Nairobi.
    Video

    Video New Hampshire Voters Are Independent, Mindful of History

    Once every four years, the northeastern state of New Hampshire becomes the center of the U.S. political universe with its first-in-the-nation presidential primary. What's unusual about New Hampshire is how seriously the voters take their role and the responsibility of being among the first to weigh in on the candidates.
    Video

    Video Chocolate Lovers Get a Sweet History Lesson

    Observed in many countries around the world, Valentine’s Day is sometimes celebrated with chocolate festivals. But at a festival near Washington, the visitors experience a bit more than a sugar rush. They go on a sweet journey through history. VOA’s June Soh takes us to the festival.
    Video

    Video 'Smart' Bandages Could Heal Wounds More Quickly

    Simple bandages are usually seen as the first line of attack in healing small to moderate wounds and burns. But scientists say new synthetic materials with embedded microsensors could turn bandages into a much more valuable tool for emergency physicians. VOA’s George Putic reports.
    Video

    Video Bhutanese Refugees in New Hampshire Closely Watching Primary Election

    They fled their country and lived in refugee camps in neighboring Nepal for decades before being resettled in the northeastern U.S. state of New Hampshire -- now the focus of the U.S. presidential contest. VOA correspondent Aru Pande spoke with members of the Bhutanese community, including new American citizens, about the campaign and the strong anti-immigrant rhetoric of some of the candidates.
    Video

    Video Researchers Use 3-D Printer to Produce Transplantable Body Parts

    Human organ transplants have become fairly common around the world in the past few decades. Researchers at various universities are coordinating their efforts to find solutions -- including teams at the University of Pennsylvania and Rice University in Houston that are experimenting with a 3-D printer -- to make blood vessels and other structures for implant. As VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from Houston, they are also using these artificial body parts to seek ways of defeating cancerous tumors.
    Video

    Video Helping the Blind 'See' Great Art

    There are 285 million blind and visually impaired people in the world who are unable to enjoy visual art at a museum. One New York photographer is trying to fix this situation by making tangible copies of the world’s masterpieces. VOA correspondent Victoria Kupchinetsky was there as visually impaired people got a feel for great art. Joy Wagner narrates her report.
    Video

    Video Sanders, Clinton Battle for Young Democratic Vote

    Despite a narrow loss to former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton in last week's Iowa Democratic caucuses, Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders secured more than 80 percent of the vote among those between the ages of 18 and 29. VOA correspondent Aru Pande talks to Democrats in New Hampshire about who they are leaning towards and why in this week's primary.
    Video

    Video German Artists to Memorialize Refugees With Life Jacket Exhibit

    Sold in every kind of shop in some Turkish port towns, life jackets have become a symbol of the refugee crisis that brought a million people to Europe in 2015.  On the shores of Lesbos, Greece, German artists collect discarded life jackets as they prepare an art installation they plan to display in Germany.  For VOA, Hamada Elrasam has this report from Lesbos, Greece.
    Video

    Video E-readers Help Ease Africa's Book Shortage

    Millions of people in Africa can't read, and there's a chronic shortage of books. A non-profit organization called Worldreader is trying to help change all that one e-reader at a time. VOA’s Deborah Block tells us about a girls' school in Nairobi, Kenya where Worldreader is making a difference.
    Video

    Video Genius Lets World Share Its Knowledge

    Inspired by crowdsourcing companies like Wikipedia, Genius allows anyone to edit anything on the web, using its web annotation tool
    Video

    Video In Philippines, Mixed Feelings About Greater US Military Presence

    In the Philippines, some who will be directly affected by a recent Supreme Court decision clearing the way for more United States troop visits are having mixed reactions.  The increased rotations come at a time when the Philippines is trying to build up its military in the face of growing maritime assertiveness from China.  From Bahile, Palawan on the coast of the South China Sea, Simone Orendain has this story.
    Video

    Video Microcephaly's Connection to Zika: Guilty Until Proven Innocent

    The Zika virus rarely causes problems for the people who get it, but it seems to be having a devastating impact on babies whose mothers are infected with Zika. VOA's Carol Pearson has more.
    Video

    Video Stunning Artworks Attract Record Crowds, Thanks to Social Media

    A new exhibit at the oldest art museum in America is shattering attendance records. Thousands of visitors are lining up to see nine giant works of art that have gotten a much-deserved shot of viral marketing. The 150-year-old Smithsonian American Art Museum has never had a response quite like this. VOA's Julie Taboh reports.