News / Asia

    US: 'No Justification' for N. Korean Response to S. Korean Exercises

    State Department Spokesman P.J. Crowley (file photo)
    State Department Spokesman P.J. Crowley (file photo)

    The United States said Friday there would be no justification for North Korea to take military action if South Korea goes ahead with planned artillery exercises in the next few days. Pyongyang is threatening another attack on South Korean territory, more severe than the one it staged after an exercise by its neighbor November 23.

    The State Department says it is advising  caution on the part of South Korea, given concern about what it terms the "current trajectory" of tensions in the region.

    However, it is defending the right of South Korea to conduct military exercises within its own territory, and says there is no justification for the threats Pyongyang has made in recent days.

    North Korea, through its official media, is warning that if the South Korean drills go forward, it will hit back harder than it did November 23, when it answered a live-fire exercise with an attack on a South Korean island that killed four people.

    South Korea's announced plans for another exercise, sometime between Saturday and Tuesday, has triggered worry in Washington and elsewhere, and a round of diplomatic contacts by concerned governments.

    Briefing reporters, State Department Spokesman P.J. Crowley said U.S. officials "certainly trust" that South Korea "will be very cautious" in what it does. But he said it is understandable that the Seoul government wants to assure that its forces are properly trained, given recent North Korean "provocations."

    "South Korea has the right to self defense, it has a right to exercise its military as it sees fit," said P.J. Crowley. "Northing that South Korea is planning is in anyway threatening to North Korea, and there's no justification for North Korea taking any action what-so-ever, should South Korea decide to proceed with this scheduled live exercise."

    Thursday, Marine General James Cartright, vice chairman of the U.S. military Joint Chiefs of Staff, voiced worry of a potential chain reaction of firing and counter-strikes, if the drill is misunderstood and Pyongyang reacts violently.

    Crowley confirmed that U.S. ambassador to Russia, John Beyrle, was called in to the foreign ministry in Moscow to hear a Russian expression of concern about the situation.

    Russia said the South Korean ambassador was also  summonded, and that Moscow asked that the exercises be shelved.

    Meanwhile senior U.S. diplomat for North Korean affairs Sung Kim flew to Seoul to consult after talks with Chinese officials in Beijing led by Deputy Secretary of State James Steinberg.

    The United States has been pressing China to use its heavy influence with Pyongyang to restrain North Korea, and Spokesman Crowley called the Beijing meeting Thursday constructive and useful.

    According to China's official news agency, the lead Chinese official at the talks, State Councilor Dai Bingguo, said it is urgent that all parties prevent tensions from escalating.

    You May Like

    New EU Asylum Rules Could Boost Rightists

    New regulations will seek to correct EU failures in dealing with migrant crisis, most notably inability to get member states to absorb a total of 160,000 refugees

    More Political Turmoil Likely in Iraq as Iran Waits in the Wings

    Analysts warn that Tehran, even though it may not be engineering the Sadrist protests in Baghdad, is seeking to leverage its influence on its neighbor

    Forced Anal Testing Case to Appear Before Kenya Court

    Men challenge use of anal examinations to ‘prove homosexuality’; practice accomplishes nothing except to humiliate those subjected to them, according to Human Rights Watch

    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.
    Tensions Rising Ahead of South China Sea Rulingi
    X
    May 03, 2016 5:16 PM
    As the Philippines awaits an international arbitration ruling on a challenge to China's claims to nearly all of the South China Sea, it is already becoming clear that regardless of which way the decision goes, the dispute is intensifying. VOA’s Bill Ide has more from Beijing.
    Video

    Video Tensions Rising Ahead of South China Sea Ruling

    As the Philippines awaits an international arbitration ruling on a challenge to China's claims to nearly all of the South China Sea, it is already becoming clear that regardless of which way the decision goes, the dispute is intensifying. VOA’s Bill Ide has more from Beijing.
    Video

    Video Painting Captures President Lincoln Assassination Aftermath

    A newly restored painting captures the moments following President Abraham Lincoln’s assassination in 1865. It was recently unveiled at Ford’s Theatre in Washington, where America’s 16th president was shot. It is the only known painting by an eyewitness that captures the horror of that fateful night. VOA’s Julie Taboh tells us more about the painting and what it took to restore it to its original condition.
    Video

    Video Elephant Summit Results in $5M in Pledges, Presidential Support

    Attended and supported by three African presidents, a three-day anti-poaching summit has concluded in Kenya, resulting in $5 million in pledges and a united message to the world that elephants are worth more alive than dead. The summit culminated at the Nairobi National Park with the largest ivory burn in history. VOA’s Jill Craig attended the summit and has this report about the outcomes.
    Video

    Video Displaced By War, Syrian Artist Finds Inspiration Abroad

    Saudi-born Syrian painter Mohammad Zaza is among the millions who fled their home for an uncertain future after Syria's civil war broke out. Since fleeing Syria, Zaza has lived in Lebanon, Egypt, Jordan and now Turkey where his latest exhibition, “Earth is Blue like an Orange,” opened in Istanbul. He spoke with VOA about how being displaced by the Syrian civil war has affected the country's artists.
    Video

    Video Ethiopia’s Drought Takes Toll on Children

    Ethiopia is dealing with its worst drought in decades, thanks to El Nino weather patterns. An estimated 10 million people urgently need food aid. Six million of them are children, whose development may be compromised without sufficient help, Marthe van der Wolf reports for VOA from the Metahara district.
    Video

    Video Little Havana - a Slice of Cuban Culture in Florida

    Hispanic culture permeates everything in Miami’s Little Havana area: elderly men playing dominoes as they discuss politics, cigar rollers deep at work, or Cuban exiles talking with presidential candidates at a Cuban coffee window. With the recent rapprochement between Cuba and United States, one can only expect stronger ties between South Florida and Cuba.
    Video

    Video California Republicans Weigh Presidential Choices Amid Protests

    Republican presidential candidates have been wooing local party leaders in California, a state that could be decisive in selecting the party's nominee for U.S. president. VOA's Mike O’Sullivan reports delegates to the California party convention have been evaluating choices, while front-runner Donald Trump drew hundreds of raucous protesters Friday.
    Video

    Video Kurdish Football Team Helps War-Torn City Cope

    With the conflict still raging across much of Turkey’s predominantly Kurdish southeast, between the rebel PKK and the Turkish state, many Kurds are trying to escape the turmoil by focusing on the success of their football team Amedspor in Diyarbakir. The club is increasingly becoming a symbol for Kurds, not only in Diyarbakir but beyond. Dorian Jones reports from southeast Turkey.
    Video

    Video ‘The Lights of Africa’ - Through the Eyes of 54 Artists

    An exhibition bringing together the work of 54 African artists, one from each country, is touring the continent after debuting at COP21 in Paris. Called "Lumières d'Afrique," the show centers on access to electricity and, more figuratively, ideas that enlighten. Emilie Iob reports from Abidjan, the exhibition's first stop.
    Video

    Video Florida’s Weeki Wachee ‘Mermaids’ Make a Splash

    Since 1947, ‘mermaids’ have fascinated tourists at central Florida’s Weeki Wachee Springs State Park with their fluid movements and synchronized ballet. Performing underwater has its challenges, including cold temperatures and a steady current, as VOA’s Lin Yang and Joseph Mok report.
    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 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.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora