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

Video China Investigates Powerful Former Security Chief

Analysts say move by President Xi is an effort to win more party support, take step toward economic reforms, removing those who would stand in way of change More

South Africa Land Reforms Still Contentious 20 Years Later

Activists argue that the pace of land reform is slow and biased; legal experts question how some proposed reforms would be implemented More

In Vietnam, Religious Freedoms Violated, UN Finds

Beliefs reportedly prompt heavy surveillance, intimidation and travel restrictions 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.
Gazans in Shelled School Sought Shelteri
X
Scott Bobb
July 30, 2014 8:16 PM
Israel's air and ground assault against Hamas-led fighters in Gaza has forced many Palestinians to flee their homes, seeking safety. But safe places are hard to find, as VOA’s Scott Bobb reports from Jabaliya.
Video

Video Gazans in Shelled School Sought Shelter

Israel's air and ground assault against Hamas-led fighters in Gaza has forced many Palestinians to flee their homes, seeking safety. But safe places are hard to find, as VOA’s Scott Bobb reports from Jabaliya.
Video

Video Rapid Spread of Ebola in West Africa Prompts Global Alert

Across West Africa, health officials are struggling to keep up with what the World Health Organization describes as the worst ebola outbreak on record. The virus has killed hundreds of people this year. U.S. President Barack Obama and other world leaders are watching the developments closely as they weigh what actions, if any, are needed to help contain the disease.
Video

Video Michelle Obama: Young Africans Need to Embrace Women's Rights

U.S. first lady Michelle Obama urged some of Africa's best and brightest to advocate for women's rights in their home countries. As VOA's Pam Dockins explains, Obama spoke to some 500 participants of the Young African Leaders Initiative, a six-week U.S.-based training and development program.
Video

Video Immigrant Influx on Texas Border Heats Up Political Debate

Immigrants from Central America continue to cross the U.S.-Mexico border in south Texas, seeking asylum in the United States, as officials grapple with ways to deal with the problem and provide shelter for thousands of minors among the illegal border crossers. As VOA's Greg Flakus reports from Houston, the issue is complicated by internal U.S. politics and U.S. relations with the troubled nations that immigrants are fleeing.
Video

Video Study: Latino Students Most Segregated in California

Even though legal school segregation ended in the United States 60 years ago, one study finds segregation still occurs in the U.S. based on income and race. The University of California Los Angeles Civil Rights Project finds that students in California are more segregated by race than ever before, especially Latinos. Elizabeth Lee reports for VOA from Los Angeles.
Video

Video Vietnamese Staging Chinese Product Boycott After Oil Rig Spat

China recently pulled an oil rig from an area of the disputed South China Sea that Vietnam also claims. Despite the action, the incident has had a lingering effect on consumers in Vietnam. VOA's Reasey Poch reports from Hanoi on an effort to boycott Chinese products.
Video

Video A Summer Camp for All the World

VIDEO: During workshops and social gatherings, the Global Youth Village summer camp encourages young people to cooperate and embrace their differences, while learning to communicate with people from other countries. VOA's Deborah Block has more.
Video

Video From Cantankerous Warlock to Incorruptible Priest, 'Harry Potter' Actor Embraces Diverse Roles

He’s perhaps best known as Mad Eye Moody, the whimsical wizard in the Harry Potter franchise. But character actor Brendan Gleeson's resume includes dozens of films, and he embraces all the characters he inhabits with equal passion. In an interview with VOA’s Penelope Poulou, Gleeson discussed his new drama "Calvary" and his secret to success.

AppleAndroid