News / Asia

South Korean Military Vows to Toughen Ranks

South Korea's Army Chief of Staff, Kim Sang-ki, center, salutes with other military members during the commanders meeting at the Army headquarters in Daejeon, south of Seoul, South Korea, 30 Dec 2010
South Korea's Army Chief of Staff, Kim Sang-ki, center, salutes with other military members during the commanders meeting at the Army headquarters in Daejeon, south of Seoul, South Korea, 30 Dec 2010

The South Korean military is making a New Year's pledge to get practical. The forces have been criticized as being mired in bureaucracy and slow to respond to North Korea's aggressive acts last year.

The new army chief of staff, General Kim Sang-ki, says this year will see a return to combat-oriented field operations units.

The general says to create highly disciplined soldiers ready to face the enemy; the army will train them in realistic maneuvers.

That is in line with President Lee Myung-bak's New Year speech, in which he promised to reform the military to enhance combat readiness.

Park Syung-je at the Asia Strategy Institute says this is all meant to send a message.

Park says South Korea's military is trying to toughen up to signal to North Korea that Seoul is prepared to retaliate strongly in case of further provocation.

Non-combat duties for enlisted personnel are to be streamlined. More officers and non-commissioned officers will be certified in field skills, such as shooting weapons and reading maps. Officers are also being told to drive their own cars, instead of relying on soldiers, who will be shifted to combat units.

New navy personnel are going to have to prove they can stay afloat for more than 10 minutes, rather than merely passing a standard swimming test.

Forty-six South Korean sailors died last year when their ship exploded and sank in the Yellow Sea.

An international investigation concluded the ship was hit by a North Korean torpedo. Pyongyang denies involvement.

The navy on Tuesday said it is deploying additional surveillance aircraft to track North Korean submarines.

The air force says it will begin around-the-clock surveillance to try to provide early warning of any infiltration by the North.

The enhanced military training follows North Korea's shelling of a South Korean island in November. Pyongyang says it attacked in response to South Korean artillery drills in the disputed Yellow Sea.

Two South Korean marines and two civilians died on Yeonpyeong Island.

President Lee and military leaders were criticized for what some South Koreans considered a delayed and weak response to the attack.

Later this week, for the first time, a joint South Korean army and marine exercise will practice repelling a North Korean invasion of five islands near the Yellow Sea border.

North Korea does not recognize the Northern Limit Line in the Yellow Sea, which the United Nations Command drew in 1953 at the conclusion of the Korean War.

You May Like

Katrina Brought Enduring Changes to New Orleans

The city’s recovery is the result of the people and culture the city is famous for, as well as newcomers and start-up industries More

China to Open Stock Markets to Pension Funds

In unprecedented move, government to soon allow local pension funds to invest up to $94 billion in domestic shares More

Magical Photo Slides Show Native Americans in Late 1800s

Walter McClintock spent 20 years photographing the Blackfoot Indians and their vanishing culture at the dawn of the modern age 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.
Colombians Flee Venezuela as Border Crisis Escalatesi
X
August 27, 2015 2:08 AM
Hundreds of Colombians have fled Venezuela since last week, amid an escalating border crisis between the two countries. Last week, Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro ordered the closure of a key border crossing after smugglers injured three Venezuelan soldiers and a civilian. The president also ordered the deportation of Colombians who are in Venezuela illegally. Zlatica Hoke reports.
Video

Video Colombians Flee Venezuela as Border Crisis Escalates

Hundreds of Colombians have fled Venezuela since last week, amid an escalating border crisis between the two countries. Last week, Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro ordered the closure of a key border crossing after smugglers injured three Venezuelan soldiers and a civilian. The president also ordered the deportation of Colombians who are in Venezuela illegally. Zlatica Hoke reports.
Video

Video Is China's Economic Data Accurate?

Some investors say China's wild stock market gyrations have been made worse by worries about the reliability of that nation's economic data. And some critics say the reports can mislead investors by painting an unrealistically-strong picture of the economy. A key China scholar says Beijing is not fudging ((manipulating)) the numbers, but that the economy is evolving quickly from smoke-stack industries to services, and the ways of tracking new economic activity are falling behind the change. V
Video

Video Next to Iran, Climate at Forefront of Obama Agenda

President Barack Obama this week announced new initiatives aimed at making it easier for Americans to access renewable energy sources such as solar and wind. Obama is not slowing down when it comes to pushing through climate change measures, an issue he says is the greatest threat to the country’s national security. VOA correspondent Aru Pande has more from the White House.
Video

Video Shipping Containers Provide Experimental Housing

Housing prices around the San Francisco Bay area are out of reach for many people, so some young entrepreneurs, artists and tech industry workers are creating their own houses using converted shipping containers. But as VOA's Mike O’Sullivan reports from Oakland, the effort requires ingenuity and dealing with restrictive local laws.
Video

Video Arctic Draws International Competition for Oil

A new geopolitical “Great Game” is underway in earth’s northernmost region, the Arctic, where Russia has claimed a large area for resource development and President Barack Obama recently approved Shell Oil Company’s test-drilling project in an area under U.S. control. Greg Flakus reports.
Video

Video Philippine Maritime Police: Chinese Fishermen a Threat to Country’s Security

China and the Philippines both claim maritime rights in the South China Sea.  That includes the right to fish in those waters. Jason Strother reports on how the Philippines is catching Chinese nationals it says are illegal poachers. He has the story from Palawan province.
Video

Video Technique May Eliminate Drill-and-Fill Dental Care

Many people dread visiting dentists because they're afraid of drills. Now, however, a technology developed by a British firm promises to eliminate the need for mechanical cleaning of dental cavities by speeding a natural process of tooth repair. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video China's Spratly Island Building Said to Light Up the Night 'Like A City'

Southeast Asian countries claim China has illegally seized territory in the Spratly islands. It is especially a concern for a Philippine mayor who says Beijing is occupying parts of his municipality. Jason Strother reports from the capital of Palawan province, Puerto Princesa.
Video

Video Ages-old Ice Reveals Secrets of Climate Change

Ice caps don't just exist at the world's poles. There are also tropical ice caps, and the largest sits atop the Peruvian Andes - but it is melting, quickly, and may be gone within the next 20 years. George Putic reports scientists are now rushing to take samples to get at the valuable information about climate change locked in the ice.
Video

Video French Experiment in Integrating Roma Under Threat

Plans to destroy France’s oldest slum have sparked an outcry on the part of its Roma residents. As Lisa Bryant reports from the Paris suburb of La Courneuve, rights groups argue the community is a fledgling experiment on integrating Roma who are often outcasts in many parts of Europe.
Video

Video Kenyans Turn to Agriculture for Business

Each year Kenyan universities continue to churn out graduates for the job market despite the already existing high rate of unemployment among youth in the country. Some of these young men and women have realized that agriculture can be as rewarding as any other business or job, and they are resorting to agribusiness in large numbers as a way of tackling unemployment. Rael Ombuor reports for VOA.
Video

Video First Women Graduate Elite Army Ranger School

Two women are making history for the U.S. Army by proving they are among the toughest of the tough. VOA's Carla Babb reports from Fort Benning, Georgia as 94 men and those two women rise as graduates of the difficult Ranger school.

VOA Blogs