News / USA

Hagel: US Will Not Cut Forces in Korea

Secretary Hagel listens to U.S. Army Col. James Minnich as a North Korean soldier takes a photograph of the secretary through a window, Sept. 30, 2013.
Secretary Hagel listens to U.S. Army Col. James Minnich as a North Korean soldier takes a photograph of the secretary through a window, Sept. 30, 2013.
Reuters
U.S. Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel toured the Korean Demilitarized Zone (DMZ) on Monday, at times under the watchful eye of North Korean soldiers, and said the Pentagon had no plan to reduce its 28,500-member force in the South despite budget constraints.
 
“This is probably the only place in the world where we have always a risk of confrontation,” Hagel said after touring a single-story building with a corrugated metal roof where talks are held with North Koreans on Conference Row in the truce village of Panmunjom.
 
As Hagel walked through the building, which spans the military demarcation line between North and South, two North Korean soldiers peered through the windows on the northern side, filming his movements.
 
“There's no margin of error up here,” Hagel told reporters after walking through the structure. “It's a very important location that we need to pay attention to.”
 
Hagel also visited the hilltop Observation Post Ouellette, in the DMZ, where he looked across a valley into North Korea and received a briefing from South Korean Defense Minister Kim Kwan-jin. The post is named for Private Joseph Ouellette, who won the Medal of Honor in the Korean War.
 
The U.S. defense secretary's visit to the DMZ came on the first full day of a four-day trip to South Korea to celebrate the 60th anniversary of a mutual security alliance between the two countries.
 
Hagel will participate in talks about the future of the alliance with his South Korean counterpart and will attend a change-of-command ceremony for U.S. forces in South Korea. He will be joined by Army General Martin Dempsey, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, and Admiral Samuel Locklear, the head of U.S. Pacific Command.
 
Army General Curtis Scaparrotti, the former director of the U.S. Joint Staff, will take over as commander of U.S. forces in Korea from Army General James Thurman.
 
Commitments Stand
 
Hagel told reporters that while the Pentagon is under pressure to reduce projected spending by nearly a trillion dollars over the next decade, the U.S. military had no plan to reduce the size of U.S. forces in Korea.
 
“No, there's never been any consideration of changing our force protection or force presence here in Korea or anywhere else in this area,” said Hagel, noting U.S. President Barack Obama's desire to refocus on the Asia-Pacific after a dozen years of war in Iraq and Afghanistan.
 
“We'll continue to do what we've got to do to manage those [spending] reductions, [and] at the same time assure our partners... specifically here in the Asia-Pacific that our commitments still stand,” said Hagel.
 
The U.S. defense chief said he thought North Korea, which is believed to have large stockpiles of chemical weapons, had been watching developments surrounding Syria's use of chemical weapons in its civil war but that it was difficult to know what lessons Pyongyang might draw.
 
The United Nations adopted a resolution last week demanding that Syria eliminate its chemical weapons. The vote came amid outrage over a sarin gas attack in a Damascus suburb that killed hundreds. Facing the threat of U.S. military action and coaxing from Moscow, Syria agreed to surrender the arms.
 
“I think it's pretty clear that North Korea has been carefully observing the activities, especially of last week at the United Nations,” Hagel said. “Nations who possess those kinds of weapons and who are irresponsible do watch how the world responds and reacts.”
 
Before visiting the DMZ on Monday, the U.S. defense chief watched an exercise in which U.S. and South Korean troops used live ammunition and explosives to destroy an obstacle so their tanks and armored vehicles could advance.

You May Like

Changing Under Pressure, IS ‘Potent’ as Ever

US intel officials describe Ramadi's fall as concerning, but say it isn't emblematic of larger effort to degrade IS capabilities More

Nigeria Fuel Shortage Shows Fragility of Africa’s Oil Giant

Although it is the largest oil producer in Africa, country has nearly ran out of fuel it needs to power its generators, cars and airplanes over the past week More

Arrested Football Officials Come Mainly From the Americas

US Justice Department alleges defendants participated in 24-year scheme to enrich themselves through corruption of international soccer More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
3D Printer Makes Replica of Iconic Sports Cari
|| 0:00:00
...    
🔇
X
George Putic
May 27, 2015 9:31 PM
Cars with parts made by 3D printers are already on the road, but engineers are still learning about this new technology. While testing the possibility of printing an entire car, researchers at the U.S. Department of Energy recently created an electric-powered replica of an iconic sports roadster. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video 3D Printer Makes Replica of Iconic Sports Car

Cars with parts made by 3D printers are already on the road, but engineers are still learning about this new technology. While testing the possibility of printing an entire car, researchers at the U.S. Department of Energy recently created an electric-powered replica of an iconic sports roadster. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video US Voters Seek Answers From Presidential Candidates on IS Gains

The growth of the Islamic State militant group in Iraq and Syria comes as the 2016 U.S. presidential campaign kicks off in the Midwest state of Iowa.   As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, voters want to know how the candidates would handle recent militant gains in the Middle East.
Video

Video A Small Oasis on Kabul's Outskirts Provides Relief From Security Tensions

When people in Kabul want to get away from the city and relax, many choose Qargha Lake, a small resort on the outskirts of Kabul. Ayesha Tanzeem visited and talked with people about the precious oasis.
Video

Video Film Festival Looks at Indigenous Peoples, Culture Conflict

A recent Los Angeles film festival highlighted the plight of people caught between two cultures. Mike O'Sullivan has more on the the Garifuna International Film Festival, a Los Angeles forum created by a woman from Central America who wants the world to know more about her culture.
Video

Video Kenyans Lament Losing Sons to al-Shabab

There is agony, fear and lost hope in the Kenyan town of Isiolo, a key target of a new al-Shabab recruitment drive. VOA's Mohammed Yusuf visits Isiolo to speak with families and at least one man who says he was a recruiter.
Video

Video Scientists Say Plankton More Important Than Previously Thought

Tiny ocean creatures called plankton are mostly thought of as food for whales and other large marine animals, but a four-year global study discovered, among other things, that plankton are a major source of oxygen on our planet. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video US-led Coalition Gives Some Weapons to Iraqi Troops

In a video released Tuesday from the Iraqi Ministry of Defense, Iraqi forces and U.S.-led coalition troops survey a cache of weapons supplied to help Iraq liberate Mosul from Islamic State group. According to a statement provided with the video, the ministry and the U.S.-led coaltion troops have started ''supplying the 16th army division with medium and light weapons in preparation to liberate Mosul and nearby areas from Da'esh (Arabic acronym for Islamic State group).''
Video

Video Amnesty International: 'Overwhelming Evidence' of War Crimes in Ukraine

Human rights group Amnesty International says there is overwhelming evidence of ongoing war crimes in Ukraine, despite a tentative cease-fire with pro-Russian rebels. Researchers interviewed more than 30 prisoners from both sides of the conflict and all but one said they were tortured. Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London.
Video

Video Washington Parade Honors Those Killed Serving in US Military

Every year, on the last Monday in the month of May, millions of Americans honor the memories of those killed while serving in the armed forces. Memorial Day is a tradition that dates back to the 19th Century. While many people celebrate the federal holiday with a barbecue and a day off from work, for those who’ve served in the military, it’s a special day to remember those who made the ultimate sacrifice. Arash Arabasadi reports for VOA from Washington.
Video

Video Kenya’s Capital Sees Rise in Shisha Parlors

In Kenya, the smoking of shisha, a type of flavored tobacco, is the latest craze. Patrons are flocking to shisha parlors to smoke and socialize. But the practice can be addictive and harmful, though many dabblers may not realize the dangers, according to a new review. Lenny Ruvaga has more on the story for VOA from Nairobi, Kenya.
Video

Video Rolling Thunder Run Reveals Changed Attitudes Towards Vietnam War

For many US war veterans, the Memorial Day holiday is an opportunity to look back at a divisive conflict in the nation’s history and to remember those who did not make it home.
Video

Video Female American Soldiers: Healing Through Filmmaking

According to the United States Defense Department, there are more than 200-thousand women serving in the U.S. Armed Forces.  Like their male counterparts, females have experiences that can be very traumatic.  VOA's Bernard Shusman tells us about a program that is helping some American women in the military heal through filmmaking.

VOA Blogs