News / Asia

North Korea Seen Conducting Large-Scale Military Drill Soon

North Korean soldiers look towards the south as a South Korean soldier (R) stands guard in the demilitarized zone separating the two Koreas, July 15, 2011.
North Korean soldiers look towards the south as a South Korean soldier (R) stands guard in the demilitarized zone separating the two Koreas, July 15, 2011.

Reports from South Korea indicate a large-scale military exercise by North Korea appears to be imminent.

South Korean government sources say, based on information from intelligence teams, North Korea appears poised for a rare, large-scale military drill.

Government officials, who do not want to be named, say they are “observing closely” North Korean positions. But they say there are no indications the massing of military personnel appears to be anything more than a drill.

The chairman of the U.S. Joint Chiefs of Staff, Navy Admiral Michael Mullen, addressing reporters in Washington on Monday, did not make mention of the apparent preparations in North Korea for a military exercise.  But the admiral did express concern that Pyongyang’s military will conduct some sort of action against the South again, at some point.

"It is my view that the North Korean regime will once again attempt to provoke hostilities and that once again leaders in the South will face some difficult decisions about if and how to respond," Mullen said. "Thus far, ROK [South Korea] leaders have shown commendable restraint. But I think it would be a grave mistake for the North to perceive this restraint as a lack of resolve or, in fact, of the capability of our alliance to defend itself," Mullen cautioned.

The North prefers to carry out military exercises this time of year, but maneuvers simultaneously involving the army ground force, the navy and air force are unusual.

South Korean media, quoting government sources here, say a significant number of North Korean troops, MiG-21 fighter jets and about 20 naval vessels have assembled, since last week, at two bases in the Yellow Sea.

Sources speaking to VOA say the North Korean maneuvers could begin as soon as Wednesday, with a simulated coastal landing of troops

Analysts say South Korean and U.S. military intelligence units are closely monitoring activities at the Onchon air base and Nampo naval facility to the southwest of Pyongyang, the North Korean capital.

U.S. Forces Korea, in an e-mailed response to VOA, said it cannot comment on intelligence matters and does not “feel it appropriate to speculate on press reports.”

Monday, North Korea’s official news agency reported that leader Kim Jong-il and his son and heir apparent Kim Jong-un had visited the Navy command in Pyongyang.

North Korea is blamed for the sinking of a South Korean warship in the Yellow Sea in 2010.  It also launched an artillery attack on a South Korean island in the same waters last year.

North Korea has repeatedly denied that its torpedo sank the Cheonan warship. As for the shelling of Yeonpyeong island, Pyongyang called it a response to South Korea’s military firing into disputed waters.

Last month, South Korea inaugurated a new defense command to protect Yeonpyeong and four other frontline islands. At the time, President Lee Myung-bak said South Korea would retaliate “strongly and thoroughly” if the North attacked again.

The western sea has long been a flashpoint for the two Koreas.

In recent days, North Korea has been warning of military retaliation if South Korea and the United States go ahead next month with an annual exercise.  North Korean media are terming the joint maneuver an open military threat and preparation for a nuclear attack on the country.

U.S. and South Korean military officials term the annual Ulchi Freedom Guardian exercise a routine defensive training “to enhance the combat readiness” of their alliance.

The new commander of the Combined Forces Command, U.S. Army General James Thurman, says the exercise will include “tough and realistic training events focused on preparing, preventing and prevailing against the full range of current and future threats to the Republic of Korea and the region."

The ten-day drill, beginning in mid-August, will see the mobilization of tens of thousands of South Korean and American military personnel.

The military training on both sides of the demilitarized zone comes amid positive diplomatic moves.

For the first time in two-and-a-half years government officials of the two Koreas have held their first non-secret meeting.

That took place last Friday on the sidelines of the ASEAN regional forum on an Indonesian resort island.  Immediately after that surprise meeting, the United States invited a top-ranking North Korean diplomat to New York.  He is to meet with U.S. diplomats there, later this week.

The two Koreas have never signed a peace treaty since their three-year civil war in the early 1950’s, which they fought to a stalemate.

Wednesday marks the 58th anniversary of the signing of the armistice which halted hostile action.  North Korea celebrates it as “War Victory Day.”

At the truce village, Panmunjom, the day is to be commemorated at a short ceremony attended by the military and civilian leadership of the U.S.-led United Nations Command, South Korean officials and the Neutral Nations Supervisory Commission.

You May Like

Missouri Town Braces for Possible Racial Unrest

Situation in Ferguson hinges on whether white police officer will be indicted for August shooting death of unarmed black teen; decision could come Monday More

Video Ukraine Marks Anniversary of 1930s Deadly Famine

President Poroshenko compares Soviet-era ‘genocide’ to current tactics of pro-Russia rebels in Ukraine's east More

S. Philippines Convictions Elusive 5 Years After Election-related Killings

Officials vowed to deliver justice as the nation marked the anniversary of the country's worst political massacre that left 58 dead, more than half media More

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.
Ukraine Marks Anniversary of Deadly 1930s Faminei
X
Daniel Schearf
November 23, 2014 4:32 PM
During a commemoration for millions who died of starvation in Ukraine in the early 1930s, President Petro Poroshenko lashed out at Soviet-era totalitarianism for causing the deaths and accused today’s Russian-backed rebels in the east of using similar tactics. VOA’s Daniel Shearf reports from Kyiv.
Video

Video Ukraine Marks Anniversary of Deadly 1930s Famine

During a commemoration for millions who died of starvation in Ukraine in the early 1930s, President Petro Poroshenko lashed out at Soviet-era totalitarianism for causing the deaths and accused today’s Russian-backed rebels in the east of using similar tactics. VOA’s Daniel Shearf reports from Kyiv.
Video

Video Hong Kong Protests at a Crossroads

New public opinion polls in Hong Kong indicate declining support for pro-democracy demonstrations after weeks of street protests. VOA’s Bill Ide in Guangzhou and Pros Laput in Hong Kong spoke with protesters and observers about whether demonstrators have been too aggressive in pushing for change.
Video

Video Law Enforcement, Activists in Ferguson Agree to Keep Peace

Authorities in Ferguson, Missouri, say they have agreed with protest leaders to maintain peace when a grand jury reaches its decision on whether to indict a white police officer in the shooting death of a black teenager. Ferguson, a suburb of St. Louis, has been the scene of intermittent violence since the August 9 shooting intensified long-simmering antagonism between the police and the African-American community. VOA's Zlatica Hoke reports.
Video

Video US Immigration Relief Imminent for Mixed-Status Families

Tens of thousands of undocumented immigrants in the Washington, D.C., area may benefit from a controversial presidential order announced this week. It's not a path to citizenship, as some activists hoped. But it will allow more immigrants who arrived as children or who have citizen children, to avoid deportation and work legally. VOA's Victoria Macchi talks with one young man who benefited from an earlier presidential order, and whose parents may now benefit after years of living in fear.
Video

Video New Skateboard Defies Gravity

A futuristic dream only a couple of decades ago, the hoverboard – a skateboard that floats above the ground - has finally been made possible. While still not ready for mass production, it promises to become a cool mode of transport... at least over some surfaces. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Falling Gas Prices Impact US Oil Extraction

With the price of oil now less than $80 a barrel, motorists throughout the United States are benefiting from gas prices below $3 a gallon. But as VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, the decreasing price of petroleum has a downside for the hydraulic fracturing industry in the United States.
Video

Video Tensions Build on Korean Peninsula Amid Military Drills

It has been another tense week on the Korean peninsula as Pyongyang threatened to again test nuclear weapons while the U.S. and South Korean forces held joint military exercises in a show of force. VOA’s Brian Padden reports from the Kunsan Air Base in South Korea.
Video

Video Mama Sarah Obama Honored at UN Women’s Entrepreneurship Day

President Barack Obama's step-grandmother is in the United States to raise money to build a $12 million school and hospital center in Kogelo, Kenya, the birthplace of the president's father, Barack Obama, Sr. She was honored for her decades of work to aid poor Kenyans at a Women's Entrepreneurship Day at the United Nations.
Video

Video Gay Evangelicals Argue That Bible Does Not Condemn Homosexuality

More than 30 U.S. states now recognize same-sex marriages, and an increasing number of mainline American churches are blessing them. But evangelical church members- which account for around 30 percent of the U.S. adult population - believe the Bible unequivocally condemns homosexuality. VOA's Jerome Socolovsky reports that gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender evangelicals are coming out. Backed by a prominent evangelical scholar, they argue that the traditional reading of the bible is wrong.
Video

Video Ebola Economic Toll Stirs W. Africa Food Security Concerns

The World Bank said Wednesday that it expects the economic impact of the Ebola outbreak on the sub-Saharan economy to cost somewhere betweenf $3 billion to $4 billion - well below a previously-outlined worst-case scenario of $32 billion. Some economists, however, paint a gloomier picture - warning that the disruption to regional markets and trading is considerable. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video Chaos, Abuse Defy Solution in Libya

The political and security crisis in Libya is deepening, with competing governments and, according to Amnesty International, widespread human rights violations committed with impunity. VOA’s Al Pessin reports from London.
Video

Video US Hosts Record 866,000 Foreign Students

Close to 900,000 international students are studying at American universities and colleges, more than ever before. About half of them come from Asia, mostly China. The United States hosts more foreign students than any other country in the world, and its foreign student population is steadily growing. Zlatica Hoke reports.

All About America

AppleAndroid