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.
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, Steve Herman is VOA's Southeast Asia Bureau Chief and Correspondent, based in Bangkok.

You May Like

Multimedia US Defense Secretary: Iraqi Forces Lack 'Will to Fight'

Ash Carter criticizes Iraq's reaction to Islamic State; National Security Advisor Susan Rice echoed Carter's concerns in an interview on CBS More

Boko Haram Surrounds Havens With Land Mines

Chad and Cameroon say huge numbers of land mines planted by Boko Haram fighters along Cameroon's border with Nigeria are a danger to people, livestock and soldiers More

Women Activists for Peace Cross Korean DMZ

Governments of Koreas give international delegation of women peace activists permission to pass through heavily fortified boarder, but some critics say symbolic crossing only benefits Pyongyang More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Turkey's Main Opposition Party Hopes for Election Breakthroughi
X
May 22, 2015 10:23 AM
Turkey’s main opposition Republican People’s Party has sought an image change ahead of the June 7 general election. The move comes after suffering successive defeats at the hands of the Islamist-rooted AK Party, which has portrayed it as hostile to religion. Dorian Jones reports from the western city of Izmir.
Video

Video Turkey's Main Opposition Party Hopes for Election Breakthrough

Turkey’s main opposition Republican People’s Party has sought an image change ahead of the June 7 general election. The move comes after suffering successive defeats at the hands of the Islamist-rooted AK Party, which has portrayed it as hostile to religion. Dorian Jones reports from the western city of Izmir.
Video

Video Europe Follows US Lead in Tackling ‘Conflict Minerals’

Metals mined from conflict zones in places like the Democratic Republic of Congo are often sold by warlords to buy weapons. This week European lawmakers voted to force manufacturers to prove that their supply chains are not inadvertently fueling conflicts and human rights abuses. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video Class Tackles Questions of Race, Discrimination

Unrest in some U.S. cities is more than just a trending news item at Ladue Middle School in St. Louis, Missouri. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, it’s a focus of a multicultural studies class engaging students in wide-ranging discussions about racial tensions and police aggression.
Video

Video Mind-Controlled Prosthetics Are Getting Closer

Scientists and engineers are making substantial advances towards the ultimate goal in prosthetics – creation of limbs that can be controlled by the wearer’s mind. Thanks to sophisticated sensors capable of picking up the brain’s signals, an amputee in Iceland is literally bringing us one step closer to that goal. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Afghan Economy Sinks As Foreign Troops Depart

As international troops prepare to leave Afghanistan, and many foreign aid groups follow, Afghans are grappling with how the exodus will affect the country's fragile economy. Ayesha Tanzeem reports from the Afghan capital, Kabul.
Video

Video Poverty, Ignorance Force Underage Girls Into Marriage

The recent marriage of a 17-year old Chechen girl to a local police chief who was 30 years older and already had a wife caused an outcry in Russia and beyond. The bride was reportedly forced to marry and her parents were intimidated into giving their consent. The union spotlighted yet again the plight of many underage girls in developing countries. Zlatica Hoke reports poverty, ignorance and fear are behind the practice, especially in Asia and Africa.
Video

Video South Korea Marks Gwangju Uprising Anniversary

South Korea this week marked the 35th anniversary of a protest that turned deadly. The Gwangju Uprising is credited with starting the country’s democratic revolution after it was violently quelled by South Korea’s former military rulers. But as Jason Strother reports, some observers worry that democracy has recently been eroded.
Video

Video California’s Water System Not Created To Handle Current Drought

The drought in California is moving into its fourth year. While the state's governor is mandating a reduction in urban water use, most of the water used in California is for agriculture. But both city dwellers and farmers are feeling the impact of the drought. Some experts say the state’s water system was not created to handle long periods of drought. Elizabeth Lee reports from Ventura County, an agricultural region just northwest of Los Angeles.
Video

Video How to Clone a Mammoth: The Science of De-Extinction

An international team of scientists has sequenced the complete genome of the woolly mammoth. Led by the Swedish Museum of Natural History in Stockholm, the work opens the door to recreate the huge herbivore, which last roamed the Earth 4,000 years ago. VOA’s Rosanne Skirble considers the science of de-extinction and its place on the planet
Video

Video Blind Boy Defines His Life with Music

Cole Moran was born blind. He also has cognitive delays and other birth defects. He has to learn everything by ear. Nevertheless, the 12-year-old has had an insatiable love for music since he was born. VOA’s June Soh introduces us to the young phenomenal harmonica player.

VOA Blogs