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

You May Like

UN Watchdog Urges Israel to Probe Possible Gaza War Crimes

More than 2,100 Palestinians, most of them civilians, were killed in a 51-day war in Gaza, along with 67 Israeli soldiers and six civilians in Israel More

New Kenyan 'Thin SIMs' Poised to Transform African Mobile Money

Equity's new technology is approved in African nation for one-year trial, though industry leader Safaricom says thin SIMs could lead to data theft and fraud More

Solar's Future Looks Brighter

New technology and dropping prices are contributing to a surge in solar power More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Talks to Resume on Winter Gas for Ukrainei
X
Al Pessin
October 25, 2014 4:21 PM
Ukrainian and Russian officials will meet again next week in an effort to settle their dispute over natural gas supplies that threatens to leave Ukraine short of heating fuel for the coming winter. VOA’s Al Pessin reports from London the dispute is complex, and has both economic and geopolitical dimensions.
Video

Video Talks to Resume on Winter Gas for Ukraine

Ukrainian and Russian officials will meet again next week in an effort to settle their dispute over natural gas supplies that threatens to leave Ukraine short of heating fuel for the coming winter. VOA’s Al Pessin reports from London the dispute is complex, and has both economic and geopolitical dimensions.
Video

Video Smugglers Offer Cheap Passage From Turkey to Syria

Smugglers in Turkey offer a relatively cheap passage across the border into Syria. Ankara has stepped up efforts to stem the flow of foreign fighters who want to join Islamic State militants fighting for control of the Syrian border city of Kobani. But porous borders and border guards who can be bribed make illegal border crossings quite easy. Zlatica Hoke has more.
Video

Video China Political Meeting Seeks to Improve Rule of Law

China’s communist leaders will host a top level political meeting this week, called the Fourth Plenum, and for the first time in the party’s history, rule of law will be a key item on the agenda. Analysts and Chinese media reports say the meetings could see the approval of long-awaited measures aimed at giving courts more independence and include steps to enhance an already aggressive and high-reaching anti-corruption drive. VOA’s Bill Ide has more from Beijing.
Video

Video After Decades of Pressure, Luxembourg Drops Bank Secrecy Rules

European Union finance ministers have reached a breakthrough agreement that will make it more difficult for tax cheats to hide their money. The new legislation, which had been blocked for years by countries with a reputation as tax havens, was approved last week after Luxembourg and Austria agreed to lift their vetoes. But as Mil Arcega reports, it doesn’t mean tax cheats have run out of places to keep their money hidden.
Video

Video Kobani Refugees Welcome, Turkey Criticizes, US Airdrop

Residents of Kobani in northern Syria have welcomed the airdrop of weapons, ammunition and medicine to Kurdish militia who are resisting the seizure of their city by Islamic State militants. The Turkish government, however, has criticized the operation. VOA’s Scott Bobb reports from southeastern Turkey, across the border from Kobani.
Video

Video US ‘Death Cafes’ Put Focus on the Finale

In contemporary America, death usually is a topic to be avoided. But the growing “death café” movement encourages people to discuss their fears and desires about their final moments. VOA’s Jerome Socolovsky reports.
Video

Video Ebola Orphanage Opens in Sierra Leone

Sierra Leone's first Ebola orphanage has opened in the Kailahun district. Hundreds of children orphaned since the beginning of the Ebola outbreak face stigma and rejection with nobody to care for them. Adam Bailes reports for VOA about a new interim care center that's aimed at helping the growing number of children affected by Ebola.

All About America

AppleAndroid