News / Asia

Pentagon: No Plan for Military Response to North Korean Attack

South Korean President Lee Myung-bak, center, arrives with Defense Minister Kim Tae-young, second right, in Seoul, South Korea, as the military was put on top alert after North Korea's artillery attack on the South Korean island of Yeonpyeong, 23 Nov 2010
South Korean President Lee Myung-bak, center, arrives with Defense Minister Kim Tae-young, second right, in Seoul, South Korea, as the military was put on top alert after North Korea's artillery attack on the South Korean island of Yeonpyeong, 23 Nov 2010

A Pentagon spokesman said the U.S. military is not working on any specific response to North Korea's attack on a South Korean island Tuesday, but is consulting with South Korea's military about steps that could ease tensions rather than increase them. U.S. Defense Secretary Robert Gates was to speak to his South Korean counterpart to discuss the situation.

The Pentagon spokesman, Colonel David Lapan, said that in addition to the ministerial phone call, the U.S. military command in Seoul is in close contact with its South Korean counterparts. But he said there is no particular plan for a response or for any increase in the joint U.S.-South Korean deterrent force, which includes 25,000 U.S. troops.

"I wouldn't say that we are looking at anything in particular at this point," said Lapan. "We are still monitoring the situation and talking with our allies. I wouldn't say that there's anything that's been initiated because of the incident."

Lapan said any military incidents on the Peninsula increase tensions. He indicated that U.S. and South Korean officials are taking a cautious approach, concerned that a military response, even after several North Korean attacks and provocative statements, might only make the situation worse.

"We are mindful of the tensions on the Peninsula and what actions may either exacerbate or calm them. So, it's too soon now to tell what actions may be taken as a result of this."

Separately, Pentagon Press Secretary Geoff Morrell declined to speculate on why North Korea launched the attack. He told the MSNBC news channel the Pyongyang government is "extremely unpredictable," and said "they do things that you could not possibly have predicted in a rational world." Morrell also said it would be difficult to put any more sanctions on North Korea than it already has. And he added, "This is a regime that is determined to bypass the sanctions, to not abide by its international obligations."

Colonel Lapan said no U.S. troops were involved in the South Korean military exercise on the island that was attacked Tuesday, but he said Americans have participated in that event in past years. And, he said, there is no plan to cancel expected joint naval exercises off the Korean and Chinese coasts, not far from the island that was attacked. Both Pyongyang and Beijing have said they would see such an exercise as an aggressive act.

"We and the Republic of Korea, throughout the year, conduct exercises," said Lapan. "We always point out that these are not offensive in nature. They are to exercise our inter-operability with the Republic of Korea. And, they should not be seen as directed in a threatening manner at anyone."

Lapan said there is still no firm plan for when the naval exercise will be held. U.S. officials have said it will include an aircraft carrier, which is among the largest and most capable warships in the world.


You May Like

Video Miami Cubans Divided on New US Policy

While older, more conservative Cuban Americans have promoted anti-Castro political movement for years, younger generations say economically, it is time for change More

2014 Sees Dramatic Uptick in Boko Haram Abductions

Militants suspected in latest mass kidnapping of over 100 people in Gumsuri, Nigeria on Sunday More

Video Cuba Deal Is Major Victory for Pope

Role of Francis hailed throughout US, Latin America - though some Cuban-American Catholics have mixed feelings 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.
Sudan School Becomes Target of Aerial Attacksi
X
December 19, 2014 12:45 AM
The school dropout rate is at an all-time high in Sudan's South Kordofan state because many schools have been destroyed during the three-year civil war between the government and SPLA-N rebel forces. Adam Bailes visited Sudan's Nuba Mountains' region and reports many children are simply too scared to go to school
Video

Video Sudan School Becomes Target of Aerial Attacks

The school dropout rate is at an all-time high in Sudan's South Kordofan state because many schools have been destroyed during the three-year civil war between the government and SPLA-N rebel forces. Adam Bailes visited Sudan's Nuba Mountains' region and reports many children are simply too scared to go to school
Video

Video VOA Reporter Tours Devastated Peshawar School

Islamist militants wearing military uniforms and strapped with explosives attacked a military run school Tuesday in the northwestern Pakistani city of Peshawar. At least 141 people were killed in the horrific attack, most of them young students. VOA reporter Ayaz Gul visited the devastated school and attended the funeral of the principal who courageously tried to save her students from the deadly attack.
Video

Video Nigerians Fleeing Boko Haram Languish in Camp Near Capital

In its five-year effort to impose Islamic law in northeastern Nigeria, the Boko Haram extremist group has killed thousands of people and forced hundreds of thousands to flee. Some of those who ran for their lives now live in squalor on the edges of the capital, Abuja. Chris Stein reports for VOA.
Video

Video Putin Says Russian Economy Will Emerge Stronger

Russian President Vladimir Putin has said his country's sinking economy will not only recover but also become stronger, despite falling oil prices and Western sanctions over Ukraine. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports.
Video

Video Detained Turkish Journalists Follow Teachings of US-Based Preacher

The Turkish government’s jailing of critical journalists has sparked international condemnation and is being seen as an effort to undermine the followers of an ailing Turkish preacher based in the United States. VOA religion reporter Jerome Socolovsky has more.
Video

Video ‘Anti-Islamization’ Marches Increase Tensions In Germany

Anti-immigrant rallies in Germany have been building in recent weeks, peaking Monday night in the city of Dresden where tens of thousands of people turned out to demonstrate against what they call the ‘Islamization’ of the West. Germany has offered asylum to more Syrian refugees than any other country, and this appears to have set off the protests. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video Aceh Rebuilt Decade After Tsunami, But Scars Remain

On December 26, 2004 there was an earthquake in the Indian Ocean so powerful it caused the Earth’s axis to wobble a few centimeters. Onshore on the island of Sumatra, the resulting tsunami was devastating. A decade later, VOA Correspondent Steve Herman reports from Banda Aceh, Indonesia, where although there is little remaining evidence of the physical devastation, the psychological scars among survivors remain.
Video

Video Refugees Living in Kenya Long for Peace in the Home Countries

Kenya is host to numerous refugees seeking safe haven from conflict. Immigrants from Somalia face challenges in their new lives in Kenya. Ahead of International Migrants Day (December 18) Lenny Ruvaga has more for VOA News from the Kenyan capital.

All About America

AppleAndroid