News / Asia

    US Announces New Troop Deployment to South Korea

    Secretary of State John Kerry gestures while speaking after a meeting with South Korean Foreign Minister Yun Byung-se at the State Department in Washington, Tuesday, Jan. 7, 2014.
    Secretary of State John Kerry gestures while speaking after a meeting with South Korean Foreign Minister Yun Byung-se at the State Department in Washington, Tuesday, Jan. 7, 2014.
    VOA News
    The Pentagon has announced the deployment of an additional 800 troops to South Korea, along with combat tanks and other military hardware, as Washington seeks to counter any regional threats from North Korea.
     
    Tuesday's deployment announcement came as U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry met in Washington with his South Korean counterpart, Yun Byung-se.  Kerry used the meeting to assure Yun of Washington's commitment to South Korea's nuclear defense, in his words, "so that we are prepared to face any threat."
     
    "The United States and the Republic of Korea stand very firmly united without an inch of daylight between us - not a sliver of daylight - on the subject of opposition to North Korea's destabilizing nuclear and ballistic missile programs and proliferation activities, and the international community stands with us," said Kerry.

    Kerry said Yun and he are "deeply focused on the challenge of North Korea, particularly with events that have taken place in recent weeks" in Pyongyang. 
     
    His comments appeared to reference a recent political purge that included the execution of the uncle of North Korean leader Kim Jong Un.
     
    The killing in December of Jang Song Thaek, a powerful member of the reclusive country’s politburo, is seen by some Western analysts as a move by Kim to consolidate power, and by others as evidence of political instability within the North Korean hierarchy.
     
    A Pentagon statement said elements of the 1st Army Battalion from Ft. Hood, Texas, will deploy to Camps Hovey and Stanley, in South Korea, by February 1.

    Cedric Leighton, a retired Air Force officer and risk management consultant, told VOA the battalion has extensive combat experience in Afghanistan and Iraq. They are being deployed relatively close to the demilitarized zone, sending what Leighton calls a "clear signal" to the North.
     
    "We're reassuring the South Koreans that we will continue to maintain a trip-wire of American forces on the Korean peninsula. And we're also going to not only put military forces there, but we're going to put military forces that are combat-experienced in that area. And that is a clear signal to the North not to engage in any adventures that would potentially bring conflict to the Korean peninsula," said Leighton.
     
    A Pentagon spokesman described the deployment as long-planned and part of an ongoing shift of U.S. military power toward the Asia-Pacific region.
     
    The White House has in recent months moved to reassure its Asian allies of its commitment to the diplomatic, economic and military pivot toward Asia, but Brad Glosserman, of the Hawaii-based Pacific Forum, told VOA the troop deployment calls into question the geographic focus of the Asia rebalance.
     
    "If you go back to the original language about the rebalance, the argument was always that the Americans have gotten Northeast Asia well, and that we wanted to sort of refocus and provide sustained attention to Southeast Asia. This actually goes up a bit up against that grain," said Glosserman.
     
    Glosserman also pointed out that the move raises questions about what form the Asia pivot will take. White House officials have in the past stressed that it will not have a military-first focus.
     
    Since the pivot was formally announced in 2011, the U.S. has broadened and deepened its economic and military alliances throughout Asia. The strategy is seen by many as providing a counterweight to the rising influence of China, though U.S. officials deny this.

    You May Like

    Video Somali, AU Forces Face Resurgent Al-Shabab

    Somalia’s Western backers frustrated over country’s slow progress in establishing its armed forces to bring security after 25 years of chaos

    Israel Makes Push for Gaza Strip Recovery

    After years of economic blockade and attempts to disable Hamas, Israeli leaders eventually realized that Hamas’ downfall could lead to chaos or the rise of a more radical Jihadist group

    Slump in Chinese Tourists Hitting Hong Kong Retail

    Mainland Chinese account for up to three-quarters of visitors to Hong Kong, but that number is falling, and shopping centers are struggling to 'shift gears' and maintain sales

    This forum has been closed.
    Comment Sorting
    Comments
         
    by: MikeBarnett from: USA
    January 12, 2014 5:47 PM
    When is the US going to negotiate an end to its part in this 63.5 year war? I know that President Truman called it a "police action," but everyone else, especially the combat veterans, refer to it as the "Korean War." The North Koreans know that they remain at war with the US, and they sometimes act in ways that appear bizarre, but the North Koreans know that they are in a legal state of war with the richest, most powerful, most technically advanced nation on earth, and that is enough to make most people engage in bizarre actions. A peace treaty might improve their behavior, but it takes two to negotiate.

    by: Benedict Arnold from: Georgia
    January 10, 2014 10:26 AM
    Are we to the point where we no longer care about providing the enemy with sensitive deployment information? A small force could show up at Ft. Hood and cause a lot of damage... as in "Loose lips sink ships," or in this case airplanes and busses.

    by: Chris from: Springdale AR
    January 08, 2014 10:16 PM
    My son is heading there in Febuary from Fort Hood.Yall be safe and we will be thinking of all 800 of y'all.

    by: Reggie from: east orange n.j
    January 08, 2014 8:54 PM
    My son was deployed to South Korea this morning God be with him and stay army strong Son

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    Somali, African Union Forces Face Resurgent Al-Shababi
    X
    Henry Ridgwell
    April 28, 2016 4:20 PM
    The Islamic State terror group claimed its first attack in Somalia earlier this week, though the claim has not been verified by forces on the ground. Meanwhile, al-Shabab militants have stepped up their attacks as Somalia prepares for elections later this year. Henry Ridgwell reports there are growing frustrations among Somalia’s Western backers over the country’s slow progress in forming its own armed forces to establish security after 25 years of chaos.
    Video

    Video Somali, African Union Forces Face Resurgent Al-Shabab

    The Islamic State terror group claimed its first attack in Somalia earlier this week, though the claim has not been verified by forces on the ground. Meanwhile, al-Shabab militants have stepped up their attacks as Somalia prepares for elections later this year. Henry Ridgwell reports there are growing frustrations among Somalia’s Western backers over the country’s slow progress in forming its own armed forces to establish security after 25 years of chaos.
    Video

    Video Bangladesh Targeted Killings Spark Wave of Fear

    People in Bangladesh’s capital are expressing deep concern over the brutal attacks that have killed secular blogger, and most recently a gay rights activist and an employee of the U.S. embassy. Xulhaz Mannan, an embassy protocol officer and the editor of the country’s only gay and transgender magazine Roopban; and his friend Mehboob Rabbi Tanoy, a gay rights activist, were hacked to death by five attackers in Mannan’s Dhaka home earlier this month.
    Video

    Video Documentary Tells Tale of Chernobyl Returnees

    Ukraine this week is marking the 30th anniversary of the world's worst nuclear accident, at the Chernobyl nuclear power plant. Soviet officials at first said little about the accident, but later evacuated a 2,600-square-kilometer "exclusion zone." Some people, though, came back. American directors Holly Morris and Anne Bogart created a documentary about this faithful and brave community. VOA's Tetiana Kharchenko reports from New York on "The Babushkas of Chernobyl." Carol Pearson narrates.
    Video

    Video Nigerians Feel Bite of Buhari Economic Policy

    Despite the global drop in the price of oil, Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari has refused to allow the country's currency to devalue, leading to a shortage of foreign exchange. Chris Stein reports from Lagos businessmen and consumers are feeling the impact as the country deals with a severe fuel shortage.
    Video

    Video  Return to the Wild

    There’s a growing trend in the United States to let old or underused golf courses revert back to nature. But as Erika Celeste reports from one parcel in Grafton, Ohio, converting 39 hectares of land back to green space is a lot more complicated than just not mowing the fairway.
    Video

    Video West Urges Unity in Libya as Migrant Numbers Soar

    The Italian government says a NATO-led mission aimed at stemming the flow of migrants from Libya to Europe could be up and running by July. There are concerns that the number of migrants could soar as the route through Greece and the Balkans remains blocked. Western powers say the political chaos in Libya is being exploited by people smugglers — and they are pressuring rival groups to come together under the new unity government. VOA's Henry Ridgwell reports.
    Video

    Video Russia’s TV Rain Swims Against Tide in Sea of Kremlin Propaganda

    Russia’s media freedoms have been gradually eroded under President Vladimir Putin as his government has increased state ownership, influence, and restrictions on critical reporting. Television, where most Russians get their news, has been the main target and is now almost completely state controlled. But in the Russian capital, TV Rain stands out as an island in a sea of Kremlin propaganda.
    Video

    Video Kurdish Town Receives Refugees but Lacks Resources

    A wave of refugees is pouring into the Kurdish town of Afrin in northern Syria as a result of fighting between rebel forces and Islamic State militants. VOA’s Amina Misto went to the town and reports local authorities are finding it difficult to cope with this influx of internally displaced people. Bronwyn Benito narrates her report.
    Video

    Video Scientists Build Human Tissue on Animal Matrix

    The question has always been, if a gecko can grow back its tail, why can't we regenerate our lost body parts? Well, maybe we can, someday. Scientists are moving towards the ability to rebuild fully functioning organs, and have made significant progress replacing muscles and other tissue.
    Video

    Video Containing Chernobyl Radiation Continues 30 Years After Explosion

    April 26 marks the 30th anniversary of the Chernobyl nuclear disaster. Hundreds were killed following the explosion and it's estimated that thousands more have died from cancers caused by the radiation. Henry Ridgwell traveled to Chernobyl and reports for VOA on the continuing efforts to decommission the site -- and on the fledgling plans for a new future in the vast exclusion zone.
    Video

    Video Frustration Builds Among Refugees Trapped at Macedonian Border

    On the Greek border with Macedonia, 12,000 refugees continue to wait. Since the route to the rest of Europe was closed last month, the makeshift camp at Idomeni has seen protests and tear gas. But while those here wait, their frustration grows — as do reports of people attempting to find new ways of continuing their journey. John Owens reports from Idomeni.
    Video

    Video Researchers: Bees Help Kenyan Farmers Fend Off Elephants

    Elephant crop-raiding continues to be a major source of human-wildlife conflict in Kenya, so one elephant researcher is helping to alleviate the problem near Tsavo East National Park with beehive fences, which use elephants’ natural aversion to bees to deter them from farms. VOA’s Jill Craig visited the area ahead of this month's Giants Club Summit, which will bring together dignitaries at Mount Kenya to find solutions to combat poaching, the No. 1 threat to elephants.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora