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

    Egypt Orders Trial for Journalists Charged With Harboring Reporters

    Order targets journalists' union chief Yehia Qalash, Khaled al-Balshy and Gamal Abdel Rahim for allegedly spreading false news, harboring fugitive colleagues

    Nigerian Oil Production Falls as Militant Attacks Take Toll

    Country no longer Africa's petroleum king due to renewed militancy in its oil-producing region

    Video Tunisia’s Ennahda Party Begins a New Political Chapter

    Party now moves to separate its political and religious activities; change described by party members as pragmatic response to political and economic challenges facing Tunisia today

    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.
    New Chapter for Tunisia's Ennahdai
    X
    Lisa Schlein
    May 31, 2016 1:56 PM
    Tunisia’s moderate Islamist Ennahda party says it is separating its religious and political activities in a broader bid to mark its so-called Muslim Democratic identity. The move appears to open a new chapter for a party that bounced back from the political wilderness of Tunisia’s pre-revolution days to become a key player in the North African country, and a member of the current coalition government. From Tunis, Lisa Bryant takes a look at how Tunisians are viewing its latest step.
    Video

    Video New Chapter for Tunisia's Ennahda

    Tunisia’s moderate Islamist Ennahda party says it is separating its religious and political activities in a broader bid to mark its so-called Muslim Democratic identity. The move appears to open a new chapter for a party that bounced back from the political wilderness of Tunisia’s pre-revolution days to become a key player in the North African country, and a member of the current coalition government. From Tunis, Lisa Bryant takes a look at how Tunisians are viewing its latest step.
    Video

    Video New Mobile App Allows Dutch Muslims to Rate their Imams

    If a young Dutch-Moroccan app developer has his way, Muslims in the Netherlands will soon be able to rate their imams online. Mohamed Mouman says imams rarely get feedback from their followers. He believes his app can give prayer leaders a better picture of what's happening in their communities — and can also keep young people from being radicalized. Serginho Roosblad reports from Amsterdam.
    Video

    Video Moscow Condemns NATO Plans to Beef Up Defense in Eastern Europe, Baltics

    NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg said Monday an upcoming "landmark summit" will enhance the alliance's defensive and deterrent presence in eastern Europe and the Baltics. He is visiting Poland ahead of the NATO Summit in Warsaw. Zlatica Hoke reports
    Video

    Video Tech Startups Showcase Wares at Amsterdam Conference

    More than 20,000 tech enthusiasts, entrepreneurs and lovers of digital technology came together in Amsterdam recently at the Next Web Conference to discuss the latest developments in digital technology, look to the future and, of course, to connect. In recent years, there has been an explosion of so-called startup businesses that have created devices and applications that have changed the way we live; but, as Serginho Roosblad reports for VOA, there are pitfalls for such startups as well.
    Video

    Video US Military's Fallen Honored With Flags

    Memorial Day is a long weekend for most Americans. For some, it is the unofficial start of summer -- local swimming pools open and outdoor grilling season begins. But Memorial Day remains true to its origins -- a day to remember the U.S. military's fallen.
    Video

    Video Rolling Thunder Rolls Into Washington

    The Rolling Thunder caravan of motorcycles rolled into Washington Sunday, to support the U.S. military on the country's Memorial Day weekend
    Video

    Video A New Reading Program Pairs Kids with Dogs

    Dogs, it is said, are man's best friend. What some researchers have discovered is that they can also be a friend to a struggling reader. A group called Intermountain Therapy Animals trains dogs to help all kinds of kids with reading problems — from those with special needs to those for whom English is a second language. Faiza Elmasry has more on the New York chapter of R.E.A.D., or Reading Education Assistance Dogs, in this piece narrated by Faith Lapidus.
    Video

    Video Fan Base Grows for Fictional Wyoming Sheriff Longmire

    Around the world, the most enduring symbol of the U.S. is that of the cowboy. A very small percentage of Americans live in Western rural areas, and fewer still are cowboys. But the fascination with the American West is kept alive by such cultural offerings as “Longmire,” a series of books and TV episodes about a fictional Wyoming sheriff. VOA’s Greg Flakus recently spoke with Longmire’s creator, Craig Johnson, and filed this report from Houston.
    Video

    Video Chinese-Americans Heart Trump, Bucking National Trend

    A new study conducted by three Asian-American organizations shows there are three times as many Democrats as there are Republicans among Asian-American voters, and they favor Hillary Clinton over Donald Trump. But one group, called Chinese-Americans For Trump, is going against the tide and strongly supports the business tycoon. VOA’s Elizabeth Lee caught up with them at a Trump rally and reports from Anaheim, California.
    Video

    Video Reactions to Trump's Success Polarized Abroad

    What seemed impossible less than a year ago is now almost a certainty. New York real estate mogul Donald Trump has won the number of delegates needed to secure the Republican presidential nomination. The prospect has sparked as much controversy abroad as it has in the United States. Zlatica Hoke has more.
    Video

    Video F-35 Fighter Jet Draws Criticisms as Costs Mount

    America’s latest fighter plane, the F-35, has been mired in controversy. Critics cite cost, faulty design, and the attempt to use it to fill multiple roles. Even the pilot’s helmet is controversial. VOA’s Bernard Shusman reports from New York.
    Video

    Video Concerns Over Civilian Suffering as Iraqi Forces Surround Fallujah

    Thousands of residents are trapped inside the IS-held city ahead of a full scale Iraqi offensive aimed at retaking it.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora