News / Asia

    US, S. Korea Reply to Pyongyang Attack with New Military Exercises

    South Korean firefighters inspect destroyed houses on Yeonpyeong island, South Korea, 24 Nov 2010
    South Korean firefighters inspect destroyed houses on Yeonpyeong island, South Korea, 24 Nov 2010

    After an exchange of artillery fire between the two Koreas, Seoul and Washington have announced a new joint military drill. South Korea also warns North Korea that any further aggression will bring enormous retaliation. The bodies of two men were found Wednesday on Yeonpyeong island, bringing the death toll to four from Tuesday's attack.

    Just after a phone call between U.S. President Barack Obama and South Korean President Lee Myung-back, the two countries announced a joint military exercise.

    It is the first significant response to Tuesday's fatal shelling of a South Korean island.

    U.S. Forces spokesman David Oten, in Seoul, says the four-day drill will begin Sunday and include the aircraft carrier U.S.S. George Washington in the Yellow Sea.

    "This exercise is defensive in nature. While planned well before yesterday's unprovoked artillery attack, it demonstrates the strength of the alliance and our commitment to regional stability through deterrence. It is also designed to improve our military interoperability," he said.

    Two South Korean marines and at least two residents of Yeonpyeong island died in the shelling.

    The top U.S. commander in South Korea on Wednesday called on Pyongyang to halt its attacks, saying North Korea threatens peace and stability on the peninsula.

    General Walter Sharp also heads the United Nations Command here. In that role he has ordered the U.N. command to investigate North Korea's shelling of Yeonpyeong island.

    Tuesday's incident caused an uproar here. The Dong-A Ilbo paper says North Korea, as a mad dog, needs to be hit with a club. The Chosun Ilbo says North Korea has put a dagger to South Korea's throat and that calls for an immediate, stern and precise retaliation. The JoongAng newspaper terms the attack a national crisis.

    Defense Minister Kim Tae-young faced withering criticism from lawmakers Wednesday.

    During a parliamentary hearing, lawmaker Song Young-Sun, with the governing Grand National Party, chastised Kim for the response.

    She questions why is the shelling merely being termed a provocation? She says bombing civilians is combat. If South Korean forces cannot anticipate and accurately keep track of how many shells fell then the whole military is useless, she complains.

    The defense minister, who could barely get a sentence in, was peppered with angry questions from lawmakers about why it took 13 minutes to begin the counter-strike after North Korea began firing artillery shells at the island.

    The artillery exchange on the disputed western frontier is one of the worst escalations since the 1953 armistice that halted the three-year Korean War.

    There has never been a peace treaty and tension has peaked and ebbed in subsequent years.

    Relations turned particularly tense earlier this year when a South Korean warship exploded and sank in the Yellow Sea. An international investigation concluded the Cheonan was hit by a North Korean torpedo. But Pyongyang says it was not responsible.

    The former director of the two main U.S. intelligence agencies (the CIA and NSA), Michael Hayden, says the Cheonan sinking and the artillery firing may be related to the power succession in Pyongyang. Hayden says heir apparent Kim Jong Un may be trying to demonstrate power and compare himself to his grandfather, North Korea's founder, Kim Il Sun.

    "Unless someone brings pressure to bear on them, and I frankly, I think, that someone has to be China, yes, I think there will be more provocations," he sid.

    Hayden says Pyongyang's behavior might also be intended to get the United States and other nations to return to stalled negotiations about Pyongyang's nuclear programs.

    North Korea blames the South for initiating Tuesday's hostilities - saying an annual South Korean live fire training exercise on the island was a provocative preparation for war.

    You May Like

    Video Democrats Clinton, Kaine Offer 'Very Different Vision' Than Trump

    In a jab at Trump, Clinton says her team wants to 'build bridges, not walls'; Obama Hails Kaine's record; Trump calls Kaine a 'job-killer'

    Turkey Wants Pakistan to Close Down institutions, Businesses Linked to Gulen

    Thousands of Pakistani students are enrolled in Gulen's commercial network of around two dozen institutions operating in Pakistan for over two decades

    AU Passport A Work in Progress

    Who will get the passport and what the benefits are still need to be worked out

    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.
    In State of Emergency, Turkey’s Erdogan Focuses on Spiritual Movementi
    X
    July 22, 2016 11:49 AM
    The state of emergency that Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has declared is giving him even more power to expand a purge that has seen an estimated 60,000 people either arrested or suspended from their jobs. VOA Europe correspondent Luis Ramirez reports from Istanbul.
    Video

    Video In State of Emergency, Turkey’s Erdogan Focuses on Spiritual Movement

    The state of emergency that Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has declared is giving him even more power to expand a purge that has seen an estimated 60,000 people either arrested or suspended from their jobs. VOA Europe correspondent Luis Ramirez reports from Istanbul.
    Video

    Video Scientists in Poland Race to Save Honeybees

    Honeybees are in danger worldwide. Causes of what's known as colony collapse disorder range from pesticides and loss of habitat to infections. But scientists in Poland say they are on track to finding a cure for one of the diseases. VOA’s George Putic reports.
    Video

    Video Wall Already Runs Along Parts of US-Mexico Border

    The Republican Party’s presidential nominee, Donald Trump, gained the support of many voters by saying he would build a wall to keep undocumented immigrants and drugs from coming across the border from Mexico. Critics have called his idea impractical and offensive to Mexico, while supporters say such a bold approach is needed to control the border. VOA’s Greg Flakus has more from the border town of Nogales, Arizona.
    Video

    Video New HIV Tests Emphasize Rapid Results

    As the global fight against AIDS intensifies, activists have placed increasing importance on getting people to know their HIV status. Some companies are developing new HIV testing methods designed to be quick, easy and accurate. Thuso Khumalo looks at the latest methods, presented at the International AIDS conference in Durban, South Africa.
    Video

    Video African Youth with HIV Urge More Support

    HIV, the virus that causes AIDS, is the top killer of teens in sub-Saharan Africa. But many youths say their experience with the virus is unique and needs to be addressed differently than the adult epidemic. VOA South African Correspondent Anita Powell reports.
    Video

    Video Poor Residents in Cleveland Not Feeling High Hopes of Republican Convention

    With the Republican Party's National Convention underway in Cleveland, Ohio, delegates and visitors are gathered in the host city's downtown - waiting to hear from the party's presidential candidate, Donald Trump. But a few kilometers from the convention's venue, Cleveland's poorest residents are not convinced Trump or his policies will make a difference in their lives. VOA's Ramon Taylor spoke with some of these residents as well as some of the Republican delegates and filed this report.
    Video

    Video Pop-Up Art Comes to Your Living Room, Backyard and Elsewhere

    Around the world, independent artists and musicians wrestle with a common problem: where to exhibit or perform? Traditional spaces such as museums and galleries are reserved for bigger names, and renting a space is not feasible for many. Enter ArtsUp, which connects artists with venue owners. Whether it’s a living room, restaurant, office or even a boat, pop-up events are bringing music and art to unexpected places. Tina Trinh has more.
    Video

    Video With Yosemite as Backdrop, Obama Praises National Parks

    Last month, President Barack Obama and his family visited some of the most beautiful national parks in the U.S. Using the majestic backdrop of a towering waterfall in California's Yosemite National Park, Obama praised the national park system which celebrates its 100th anniversary this year. He talked about the importance of America’s “national treasures” and the need to protect them from climate change and other threats. VOA’s Julie Taboh reports.
    Video

    Video Counter-Islamic State Coalition Plots Next Steps

    As momentum shifts against Islamic State in Iraq, discussions are taking place about the next steps for driving the terrorist group from its final strongholds. Secretary of State John Kerry is hosting a counter-IS meeting at the State Department, a day after defense ministers from more than 30 countries reviewed and agreed upon a course of action. VOA Pentagon correspondent Carla Babb reports.
    Video

    Video Russia's Participation at Brazil Olympic Games Still In Question

    The International Olympic Committee has delayed a decision on whether to ban all Russian teams from competing in next month's Olympic Games in Brazil over allegations of an elaborate doping scheme. The World Anti-Doping Agency recently released an independent report alleging widespread doping by Russian athletes at the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi. So far, only Russian track and field athletes have been barred from the Summer Games in Brazil. VOA's Zlatica Hoke has more.
    Video

    Video Scotland’s Booming Whisky Industry Fears Brexit Hangover

    After Britain’s vote to leave the European Union, Scotland’s government wants to break away from the United Kingdom – fearing the nation’s exports are at risk. Among the biggest of these is whisky. Henry Ridgwell reports on a time of turmoil for those involved in the ancient art of distilling Scotland’s most famous product.
    Video

    Video Millennials Could Determine Who Wins Race to White House

    With only four months to go until Americans elect a new president, one group of voters is getting a lot more attention these days: those ages 18 to 35, a generation known as millennials. It’s a demographic that some analysts say could have the power to decide the 2016 election. But a lot depends on whether they actually turn out to vote. VOA’s Alexa Lamanna reports.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora