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.
TEXT SIZE - +

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

Multimedia Anti-Keystone XL Protests Continue

Demonstrators are worried about pipeline's effect on climate change, their traditional way of life, health and safety More

Thailand's Political Power Struggle Continues

Court gave Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra until May 2 to prepare her defense over abuse of power charges but uncertainty remains over election timing More

Malaysia Plane Search Tests Limits of Ocean Mapping Technology

Expert tells VOA existing equipment’s maximum operating depth is around 6 kilometers as operation continues on ocean bed for any trace of MH370 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.
Pet Kangaroo Helps Spread Environmental Messagei
X
Penelope Poulou
April 22, 2014 5:53 PM
Children’s author Julia Heckathorn travels the world to learn about different ecosystems and endangered animals. She pours her knowledge into children’s books, hoping the next generation will right the environmental wrongs of our times. As in many children's books, the main character in Heckathorn's stories is an animal. Unlike those other characters, though, this one is real - a kangaroo, that lives in the author’s backyard. VOA’s Penelope Poulou has more.
Video

Video Pet Kangaroo Helps Spread Environmental Message

Children’s author Julia Heckathorn travels the world to learn about different ecosystems and endangered animals. She pours her knowledge into children’s books, hoping the next generation will right the environmental wrongs of our times. As in many children's books, the main character in Heckathorn's stories is an animal. Unlike those other characters, though, this one is real - a kangaroo, that lives in the author’s backyard. VOA’s Penelope Poulou has more.
Video

Video Pro-Russian Separatists Plan 'Federalization Referendum' in Eastern Ukraine

Pro-Russian separatists in eastern Ukraine say they plan to move forward next month with a referendum vote for greater autonomy, despite the Geneva agreement reached with Russia, the U.S. and Ukraine to end the political conflict. VOA's Brian Padden reports from the city of Donetsk in Eastern Ukraine.
Video

Video Pope Francis Hopes Dual Canonizations Will Reconcile Church

On April 27, two popes - John the XXIII and John Paul II - will be made saints in a ceremony at St. Peter’s Square. VOA religion correspondent Jerome Socolovsky says the dual canonization is part of the current pope’s program to reconcile liberals and conservatives in the Roman Catholic Church.
Video

Video In Capturing Nature's Majesty, Film Makes Case for Its Survival

French filmmaker Luc Jacquet won worldwide acclaim for his 2005 Academy Award-winning documentary "March of the Penguins". Now Jacquet is back with a new film that takes movie-goers deep into the heart of a tropical rainforest - not only to celebrate its grandeur, but to make the case for its survival. VOA's Rosanne Skirble reports.
Video

Video Boston Marathon Bittersweet for Many Runners

Monday's running of the Boston Marathon was bittersweet for many of the 36,000 participants as they finished the run that was interrupted by a double bombing last year. Many gathered along the route paid respect to the four people killed as a result of two bombings near the finish line. VOA's Carolyn Presutti returned to Boston this year to follow two runners, forever changed because of the crimes.
Video

Video International Students Learn Film Production in World's Movie Capital

Hollywood - which is part of Los Angeles - is the movie capital of the world, and many aspiring filmmakers go there in hopes of breaking into the movie business. Mike O'Sullivan reports that regional universities are also a magnet for students who hope to become producers or directors.
Video

Video Pacific Rim Trade Deal Proves Elusive

With the U.S.-led war in Iraq ended and American military involvement in Afghanistan winding down, President Barack Obama has sought to pivot the country's foreign policy focus towards Asia. One aspect of that pivot is the negotiation of a free-trade agreement among 12 Pacific Rim nations. But as Obama leaves this week on a trip to four Asian countries he has found it very difficult to complete the trade pact. VOA's Ken Bredemeier has more from Washington.
Video

Video Autistic Adults Face Housing, Job Challenges

Many parents of children with disabilities fear for the future of their adult child. It can be difficult to find services to help adults with disabilities - physical, mental or emotional - find work or live on their own. The mother of an autistic boy set up a foundation to advocate for the estimated 1.2 million American adults with autism, a developmental disorder that causes communication difficulties and often social difficulties. VOA's Faiza Elmasry reports.
AppleAndroid