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.
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

Polls Open in Scotland Independence Vote

As race to persuade undecided voters continues, 'No' voters say they believe life in Scotland will slowly improve, 'Yes' vote not worth the risk More

South Africa’s 'Open Mosque' Admits Everyone, Including Critics

Open Mosque founder plans to welcome gay worshipers and allow women to lead prayers More

Ukrainian Activist in Despair About Future of Her Country

IrIna Dovgan, accused of being a spy and tortured by pro-Russian separatists, is appealing to UN Human Rights Council to support her country 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.
A Dinosaur Fit for Land and Wateri
X
September 17, 2014 8:44 PM
Residents and tourists in Washington D.C. can now examine a life-size replica of an unusual dinosaur that lived almost a hundred million years ago in northern Africa. Scientists say studying the behemoth named Spinosaurus helps them better understand how some prehistoric animals adapted to life on land and in water. The Spinosaurus replica is on display at the National Geographic museum. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video A Dinosaur Fit for Land and Water

Residents and tourists in Washington D.C. can now examine a life-size replica of an unusual dinosaur that lived almost a hundred million years ago in northern Africa. Scientists say studying the behemoth named Spinosaurus helps them better understand how some prehistoric animals adapted to life on land and in water. The Spinosaurus replica is on display at the National Geographic museum. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Iraqi Kurdistan Church Helps Christian Children Cope find shelter in churches in the Kurdish capital, Irbil

In the past six weeks, tens of thousands of Iraqi Christians have been forced to flee their homes by Islamic State militants and find shelter in churches in the Kurdish capital, Irbil. Despite U.S. airstrikes in the region, the prospect of people returning home is still very low and concerns are starting to grow over the impact this is having on the displaced youth. Sebastian Meyer reports from Irbil on how one church is coping.
Video

Video NASA Picks Boeing, SpaceX to Carry Astronauts Into Space

The U.S. space agency, NASA, has chosen Boeing and SpaceX companies to build the next generation of spacecraft that will carry U.S. astronauts to the International Space Station by the year 2017. The deal with private industry enables NASA to end its dependence on Russia to send space crews into low Earth orbit and back. Zlatica Hoke has more.
Video

Video Future of Ukrainian Former President's Estate Uncertain

More than six months after Ukraine's former President Viktor Yanukovych fled revolution to Russia, authorities have yet to gain control of his palatial estate. Protesters occupy the grounds and opened it to tourists but they are also refusing to turn it over to the state. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports from Mezhigirya, just north of Kyiv.
Video

Video China Muslims Work to Change Perceptions After Knife Attacks

China says its has sentenced three men to death and one woman to life in prison for a deadly knife attack in March that left more than 30 dead and 140 injured. Beijing says Muslim militants from China's restive western region of Xinjiang carried out the attacks. Now, more than six months after the incident, residents in the city are still coping with the aftermath. VOA's Bill Ide has more from Kunming.
Video

Video Enviropreneur Seeks to Save the Environment, Empower the Community

Lorna Rutto, a former banker, is now an ‘enviropreneur’ - turning plastic waste into furniture and fences discusses the challenges she faces in Africa with raw materials and the environment.
Video

Video West Trades Accusations Over Ransoms

As world leaders try to forge a common response to the threat posed by Islamic State militants in Iraq and Syria, there is simmering tension over differing policies on paying ransoms. In the past month, the jihadist group has beheaded two Americans and one Briton. Both countries refuse to pay ransom money. As Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London, there is uncertainty in the approach of some other European nations.
Video

Video Scotland Independence Bid Stokes Global Interest

The people of Scotland are preparing to vote on whether to become independent and break away from the rest of Britain, in a referendum being watched carefully in many other countries. Some see it as a risky experiment; while others hope a successful vote for independence might energize their own separatist demands. Foreign immigrants to Scotland have a front row seat for the vote. VOA’s Henry Ridgwell spoke to some of them in Edinburgh.


Carnage and mayhem are part of daily life in northern Nigeria, the result of a terror campaign by the Islamist group Boko Haram. Fears are growing that Nigeria’s government may not know how to counter it, and may be making things worse. More

AppleAndroid