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 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. More

Video Sudan School Becomes Target of Aerial Attacks

Dropout rate at an all-time high in South Kordofan state because many schools have been destroyed during 3-year civil war More

Tennessee Songbirds Fly Coop Long Before Tornadoes Arrive

Researchers say birds apparently alerted to danger by sounds at frequencies below range of human hearing 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