News / Asia

South Korea Leads Maritime Training on Intercepting Illegal Weapons

US Apache helicopter fires rocket during joint military exercise between South Korea and United States at US firing Rodriguez Range in Pocheon, south of the demilitarized zone that divides two Koreas, 13 Oct. 2010.
US Apache helicopter fires rocket during joint military exercise between South Korea and United States at US firing Rodriguez Range in Pocheon, south of the demilitarized zone that divides two Koreas, 13 Oct. 2010.

South Korea for the first time is leading a multinational maritime exercise under the Proliferation Security Initiative, known as PSI. The program is intended to intercept illicit weapons and materials to make weapons of mass destruction. Seoul had initially been reluctant to join such drills to avoid antagonizing Pyongyang.

The two-day naval drill is taking place in the waters near the South Korean city of Busan.

South Korean defense officials stress the exercise is not targeting any particular nation. But Carl Baker, director of programs at the Center for Strategic and International Studies' Pacific Forum, in the U.S. state of Hawaii, says one country is in mind.

"Clearly the South Koreans, in this case, are targeting the North Koreans to send a message to North Korea, and clearly North Korea has been one of the countries that have been involved in proliferation activities," Baker said.

North Korea says South Korea's participation violates the 1953 armistice on the peninsula because it is tantamount to blocking sea lanes. After Seoul joined PSI last year, Pyongyang angrily proclaimed it "a declaration of war."

South Korea's military, for the first time is leading a PSI drill with two naval torpedo destroyers, a pair of landing ships and four submarines.

The U.S. Navy has sent a guided missile destroyer. Japan's Maritime Self Defense Force has dispatched a destroyer and helicopters. An Australian maritime patrol plane also is participating, while other countries have sent observers.

Nearly 100 countries have joined the loose PSI coalition since its inception seven years ago. Its goal is to find and stop illegal shipments of weapons of mass destruction and their components, or other contraband.

South Korea was initially reluctant to participate, because of Seoul's policy of trying to engage more closely with North Korea.

It fully joined after North Korea detonated a second nuclear device last year. International arms proliferation experts say Pyongyang has both sold and purchased banned weapons in the past.

Baker says this year's sinking of a South Korean naval vessel, for which North Korea is blamed, led to this exercise.

"The provocation by North Korea in sinking the ship, I think, convinced South Korea that it was time to be a bit more assertive and much more willing to cooperate in a multilateral setting to demonstrate a willingness to deal with proliferation activity," Baker said.

On Thursday, officials from several PSI countries, including Argentina, Canada, Chile, France, Italy, New Zealand, South Korea, Spain, Turkey and the U.S. will discuss collaborating on ship interdictions.

You May Like

Video Five Patients Given Experimental Ebola Drug Said To Be Improving

Experimental drugs have been tried on six people: three Westerners and now, three African pyhysicians More

Video In Ukraine, Fear and Distrust Remain Where Fighting has Stopped

As Ukrainian military reclaims control of eastern cities residents rebuild their lives, but many say everyone is being treated with suspicion More

Video In Rural Kenya, Pressure Builds Against Female Circumcision

Girls learn to object; FGM practitioners face penalties from jail sentences to stiff fines 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.
Five Patients Given Experimental Ebola Drug Said to Be Improvingi
X
Carol Pearson
August 19, 2014 11:43 PM
The World Health Organization has approved the use of experimental treatments for Ebola patients in West Africa. The Ebola outbreak there is unprecedented, the disease deadly. The number of people who have died from Ebola has surpassed 1,200. VOA's Carol Pearson reports on the ethical considerations of allowing experimental drugs to be used.
Video

Video Five Patients Given Experimental Ebola Drug Said to Be Improving

The World Health Organization has approved the use of experimental treatments for Ebola patients in West Africa. The Ebola outbreak there is unprecedented, the disease deadly. The number of people who have died from Ebola has surpassed 1,200. VOA's Carol Pearson reports on the ethical considerations of allowing experimental drugs to be used.
Video

Video In Ukraine, Fear and Distrust Remain Where Fighting has Stopped

As the Ukrainian military reclaims control of eastern cities from pro-Russian separatists, residents are getting a chance to rebuild their lives. VOA's Gabe Joselow reports from the town of Kramatorsk in Donetsk province, where a sense of fear is still in the air, and distrust of the government in Kyiv still runs deep.
Video

Video China Targets Overseas Assets of Corrupt Officials

As China presses forward with its anti-graft effort, authorities are targeting corrupt officials who have sent family members and assets overseas. The efforts have stirred up a debate at home on exactly how many officials take that route and how likely it is they will be caught. Rebecca Valli has this report.
Video

Video Leading The Fight Against Islamic State, Kurds Question Iraqi Future

Western countries including the United States have begun arming the Kurdish Peshmerga forces in northern Iraq to aid their battle against extremist Sunni militants from the Islamic State. But there are concerns that a heavily-armed Kurdistan Regional Government, or KRG, might seek to declare independence and cause the break-up of the Iraqi state. As Henry Ridgwell reports from London, the KRG says it will only seek greater autonomy from Baghdad.
Video

Video In Rural Kenya, Pressure Builds Against Female Circumcision

In some Kenyan communities, female genital mutilation remains a rite of passage. But activists are pushing back, with education for girls and with threats of punishment those who perform the circumcision. Mohammed Yusuf looks at the practice in the rural eastern community of Tharaka-Nithi.
Video

Video For Obama, Racial Violence is Personal Issue

The racial violence in the St. Louis suburb of Ferguson is presenting U.S. President Barack Obama with an issue to which he has a deep personal connection. To many Americans, Obama's election as America's first black president marked a turning point in race relations in the United States, and Obama has made ending the violence a policy priority. On Monday he issued a new call for calm and understanding. Luis Ramirez reports from the White House.
Video

Video Clinton-Obama Relationship Could Impact 2016 Election

President Barack Obama and former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton have a long and complicated relationship. That relationship took another turn recently when Clinton criticized the president’s foreign policy. VOA National Correspondent Jim Malone reports there is renewed attention on the Clinton-Obama relationship as Hillary Clinton considers running for
Video

Video Iran Looks to Maintain Influence in Baghdad With New Shia PM

Washington and Tehran share the goal of stopping Syrian-based militants in Iraq. But experts say it's Iran, not the United States, that will most influence how the new government in Baghdad approaches internal reforms and the war in Syria. VOA State Department Correspondent Scott Stearns has the story.

AppleAndroid