News / Asia

S. Korea-US Joint Drills Shift to Sea

An E-2C Hawkeye lands on the deck of U.S. aircraft carrier USS George Washington during joint military drills between the U.S. and South Korea in the Yellow Sea, southwest of Seoul, June 24, 2012.
An E-2C Hawkeye lands on the deck of U.S. aircraft carrier USS George Washington during joint military drills between the U.S. and South Korea in the Yellow Sea, southwest of Seoul, June 24, 2012.
TEXT SIZE - +
South Korean and U.S. naval forces are reported to have begun joint drills in waters off the Korean peninsula.

South Korean defense officials are characterizing the latest military exercise as routine and purely defensive in nature.  North Korea does not view it that way.

Referencing the maritime drills in the South, North Korea is calling on Seoul to stop “hostile acts and military provocations” to avoid a permanent closure of the now idled industrial zone at Kaesong, which is the two countries' only joint venture project.

South Korean officials Monday decried Pyongyang linking defense exercises to the fate of the civil factory complex in the North.

According to South Korea's semi-official Yonhap news agency, the drills began with an anti-submarine exercise on Monday in the Yellow Sea, a week after the conclusion of the annual Foal Eagle combined and joint unit tactical field training exercise on the Korean peninsula.

North Korea strongly objected to the previous round of military maneuvers, citing it as a prelude to an invasion. Pyongyang threatened to launch a nuclear attack.

Speaking to reporters in Seoul, Ministry of National Defense spokesman Kim Min-seok was asked about the participation in the exercise of the U.S. Navy's Nimitz super carrier and its strike force.

Kim said the nuclear-powered carrier comes to South Korea annually, noting it last visited in June of 2012, to participate in strategic training.

The spokesman declined to reveal the timing for this latest exercise at sea.

The U.S. navy says the carrier's strike group, which arrived in the 7th Fleet's area of responsibility last Friday, includes guided missile destroyers and a guided missile cruiser.

According to a U.S. Navy news release, the group “will conduct exercises and port visits to enhance maritime partnerships and promote peace and stability in the Indo-Asia-Pacific region along with its allies.”

The news release quotes Carrier Strike Group 11's commander, Rear Admiral Michael White saying the U.S. group does not take the exercise "lightly".

The release makes no specific reference to the tension on the Korean peninsula.

South Korean domestic media said the maneuvers include Aegis-equipped destroyers, patrol aircraft and submarines from both countries.

South Korean President Park Geun-hye, Sunday began a six-day official trip to the United States.

The top agenda item for her meeting with President Barack Obama on Tuesday is  North Korea's continuing development of ballistic missiles and nuclear weapons, which recently was accompanied by the bellicose rhetoric threatening war.

South Korean government officials say President Park is to explain to President Obama her pledge to strongly retaliate against North Korean provocations while leaving the door open for dialogue with Pyongyang to build trust and reduce tensions.

The two Koreas have no diplomatic relations. They fought to a stalemate in a devastating three-year civil war in the early 1950's.

Steve Herman

A veteran journalist, Steven L Herman is the Voice of America Asia correspondent.

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

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