News / USA

Pentagon Closely Monitors North Korea After Kim's Death

North Korean leader Kim Jong Il, second right, and Russian President Dmitry Medvedev, second left, walk during a meeting an a military garrison, outside Ulan-Ude, Wednesday, Aug. 24, 2011. Russian Defense Minister Anatoly Serdyukov is at right.
North Korean leader Kim Jong Il, second right, and Russian President Dmitry Medvedev, second left, walk during a meeting an a military garrison, outside Ulan-Ude, Wednesday, Aug. 24, 2011. Russian Defense Minister Anatoly Serdyukov is at right.
TEXT SIZE - +
Luis Ramirez

The U.S. Defense Department is closely watching events on the Korean Peninsula after the death of North Korean leader Kim Jong Il.  U.S. Defense Secretary Leon Panetta has been touch with South Korean military officials in the hours after Kim’s death.

Pentagon officials say the U.S. has not detected unusual military movements by the North Koreans.

U.S. Defense Secretary Leon Panetta is in his home state of California and was on the phone with the South Korean defense minister Monday, as both sides watched events over the border closely.  

Pentagon spokesman George Little told reporters the U.S. defense chief and his South Korean counterpart pledged to keep each other informed of events in the coming days.

“Both the secretary and the minister understand that this is a delicate time and they need to closely monitor developments in North Korea and on the peninsula," said Little.

There are reports of a missile test after  Kim’s death.  Senior defense officials, speaking anonymously, said they believe the missile test was pre-planned and had no connection to the death of the North Korean leader.  

Doug Bandow, a senior fellow at the Cato Institute research group in Washington, says Mr. Kim’s death creates much instability and the likelihood of a power struggle.

“It’s very hard to know what North Korean policy will be both politically and militarily during that time period," said Bandow. "Everyone in region is very nervous.”

He said that while there are no reports of unusual movements by the North, U.S. forces have reason to be on alert in the coming days.  

“Any kind of instability theoretically could bring the increased prospect of war," he said. "I think that’s very unlikely, but if you’re an American soldier you have to recognize there’s probably going to be heightened security and heightened concern about anything brewing over the border.”

Bruce Klingner is a former member of the U.S. intelligence community who is now a senior fellow at the Heritage Foundation think tank.  He says it remains uncertain how Mr. Kim’s successor will behave.

“Perhaps Kim Jong Un may feel even more likely to need provocative behavior to generate a 'rally around the flag' effect or to prove his qualities and his capabilities to any potential challengers," said  Klingner. "Given all of those factors, it will remain critical for the U.S. to maintain a vigorous forward deployed military in Japan, including Okinawa, and South Korea to deter and defend and, if necessary, defeat any kind of North Korean attack or other military activities.”

About 30,000 U.S. troops are stationed in South Korea and officials say there are no changes to readiness levels among U.S. forces in the region.  The Pentagon on Monday said there is no truth to rumors that the families of U.S. military personnel were leaving South Korea.   

You May Like

Multimedia Relatives of South Korean Ferry Victims Fire at Authorities

46 people are confirmed dead, but some 250 remain trapped inside sunken ferry More

War Legacy Haunts Vietnam, US Relations

$84 million project aims to clean up soil contaminated by Agent Orange More

Wikipedia Proves Useful for Tracking Flu

Technique gave better results than Center for Disease Control (CDC) and Google’s Flu Trends 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, Russia, United in Faith, Divided in Politicsi
X
Michael Eckels
April 19, 2014
There is a strong historical religious connection between Russia and Ukraine. But what role is religion playing in the current conflict? In the run-up to Easter, Michael Eckels in Moscow reports for VOA.
Video

Video Ukraine, Russia, United in Faith, Divided in Politics

There is a strong historical religious connection between Russia and Ukraine. But what role is religion playing in the current conflict? In the run-up to Easter, Michael Eckels in Moscow reports for VOA.
Video

Video Face of American Farmer is Changing

The average American farmer is now 58 years old, and farmers 65 and older are the fastest growing segment of the population. It’s a troubling trend signaling big changes ahead for American agriculture as aging farmers retire. Reporter Mike Osborne says a new report from the U.S. Census Bureau is suggesting what some of those changes might look like... and why they might not be so troubling.
Video

Video Donetsk Governor: Ukraine Military Assault 'Delicate But Necessary'

Around a dozen state buildings in eastern Ukraine remain in the hands of pro-Russian protesters who are demanding a referendum on self-rule. The governor of the whole Donetsk region is among those forced out by the protesters. He spoke to VOA's Henry Ridgwell from his temporary new office in Donetsk city.
Video

Video Drones May Soon Send Data From High Seas

Drones are usually associated with unmanned flying vehicles, but autonomous watercraft are also becoming useful tools for jobs ranging from scientific exploration to law enforcement to searching for a missing airliner in the Indian Ocean. VOA’s George Putic reports on sea-faring drones.
Video

Video New Earth-Size Planet Found

Not too big, not too small. Not too hot, not too cold. A newly discovered planet looks just right for life as we know it, according to an international group of astronomers. VOA’s Steve Baragona has more.
Video

Video Copts in Diaspora Worry About Future in Egypt

Around 10 percent of Egypt’s population belong to the Coptic faith, making them the largest Christian minority in the Middle East. But they have become targets of violence since the revolution three years ago. With elections scheduled for May and the struggle between the Egyptian military and Islamists continuing, many Copts abroad are deeply worried about the future of their ancient church. VOA religion correspondent Jerome Socolovsky visited a Coptic church outside Washington DC.
Video

Video Critics Say Venezuelan Protests Test Limits of Military's Support

During the two months of deadly anti-government protests that have rocked the oil-rich nation of Venezuela, President Nicolas Maduro has accused the opposition of trying to initiate a coup. Though a small number of military officers have been arrested for allegedly plotting against the government, VOA’s Brian Padden reports the leadership of the armed forces continues to support the president, at least for now.
Video

Video More Millenials Unplug to Embrace Board Games

A big new trend in the U.S. toy industry has more consumers switching off their high-tech gadgets to play with classic toys, like board games. This is especially true among the so-called millenial generation - those born in the 1980's and 90's. Elizabeth Lee has more from an unusual café in Los Angeles, where the new trend is popular and business is booming.
Video

Video Google Buys Drone Company

In its latest purchase of high-tech companies, Google has acquired a manufacturer of solar-powered drones that can stay in the air almost indefinitely, relaying broadband Internet connection to remote areas. It is seen as yet another step in the U.S. based Web giant’s bid to bring Internet to the whole world. VOA’s George Putic reports.
AppleAndroid