News / Asia

US Defense Official Sees North Korean Threats Backfiring

U.S. Deputy Secretary of Defense Ashton Carter answers reporter's question during a news conference at the U.S. Embassy in Seoul, South Korea, March 18, 2013.U.S. Deputy Secretary of Defense Ashton Carter answers reporter's question during a news conference at the U.S. Embassy in Seoul, South Korea, March 18, 2013.
x
U.S. Deputy Secretary of Defense Ashton Carter answers reporter's question during a news conference at the U.S. Embassy in Seoul, South Korea, March 18, 2013.
U.S. Deputy Secretary of Defense Ashton Carter answers reporter's question during a news conference at the U.S. Embassy in Seoul, South Korea, March 18, 2013.
A top U.S. defense official is visiting South Korea, where he says North Korea's recent provocations are only further isolating Pyongyang from the rest of the world.

Deputy Defense Secretary Ashton Carter said Pyongyang's missile and nuclear tests, as well as recent threats to launch a nuclear strike and attack frontier islands in the South, are not going to soften attitudes abroad towards the reclusive and impoverished country.

"If the North Koreans think this kind of thing is going to get them anywhere, they're mistaken. The only effect it's having is to bring upon North Korea the opprobrium [reproach] of the entire world," Carter said.

In response, he added, the United States military is continuing to integrate operations with South Korean forces and adding ground-based interceptors to U.S. missile defenses in Alaska.

China on Monday cautioned the United States to act prudently on boosting its anti-missile system. A spokesman for the foreign ministry in Beijing, Hong Lei, told reporters such plans, in response to North Korea's provocation, “will intensify antagonism and will not be beneficial to finding a solution for the problem.” The spokesman said the situation is best addressed through diplomatic means.

VOA asked Carter if South Korean government and defense officials he met Monday are alarmed by the recent North Korean rhetoric or do they view it as similar to Pyongyang’s more typical bellicose rhetoric?

"I found that my colleagues in the South Korean government shared our assessment," Carter said. "After all we have a common foundation of intelligence about North Korea and so we see things the same way."

Joint military drills are underway on the peninsula (Foal Eagle and Key Resolve) involving thousands of members of forces from both the United States and South Korea.

Carter also underscored that all resources under America's nuclear umbrella will continue to be available to South Korea.  He says an example of this will be a Tuesday “training flight” of a B-52 bomber near the peninsula.

It is unusual for such flights to be announced in advance or specifically referenced by a high-ranking official. Carter did not say whether the bomber would be armed.

After the deputy defense secretary's announcement, a U.S. military spokesman said the flight will likely originate at Anderson Air Force Base on the Pacific island of Guam.

Pentagon officials earlier confirmed that a B-52 Stratofortress also performed a "routine continuous bomber presence mission" on March 8th near the Korean peninsula.

Carter is reassuring allies in the region that the automatic U.S. government budget cuts which kicked in March 1 (known as sequestration) will not affect operations of the U.S. military in the Asia-Pacific region.

The defense official's visit to South Korea was the second stop on a trip to Asia that includes Japan, the Philippines and Indonesia.

Steve Herman

A veteran journalist, Steve Herman is VOA's Southeast Asia Bureau Chief and Correspondent, based in Bangkok.

You May Like

Jihadist Assassin says Goal of Tunisia Murders Was Chaos

Abu Muqatil at-Tunusi’s remarks in a propaganda interview also cast light on attack on Bardo Museum More

Russia Denies License to Tatar-Language TV Station in Crimea

OSCE official says denial shows 'politically selective censorship of free and independent voices in Crimea is continuing' More

Kenyan Startups Tackle Expensive Remittances Through Bitcoin

Some think services could give Western Union a run for its money, though others say it’s still got a long way to go More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
For Obama, It's More Business Than Friendships With World Leadersi
X
Aru Pande
April 01, 2015 9:09 PM
The rift between President Barack Obama and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has put a spotlight on the importance of the American leader’s personal relationships with other world leaders and what role such friendships play in foreign policy. VOA's Aru Pande reports.
Video

Video For Obama, It's More Business Than Friendships With World Leaders

The rift between President Barack Obama and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has put a spotlight on the importance of the American leader’s personal relationships with other world leaders and what role such friendships play in foreign policy. VOA's Aru Pande reports.
Video

Video Buhari: Nigeria Has ‘Embraced Democracy’

Nigeria woke up to a new president-elect Wednesday, Muhammadu Buhari. But people say democracy is the real winner as the country embarks on its first peaceful handover of power since the end of military rule in 1999. VOA’s Anne Look reports from Abuja.
Video

Video Tiny Camera Sees Inside Blood Vessels

Ahead of any surgical procedure, doctors try to learn as much as possible about the state of the organs they plan to operate on. A new camera developed in the Netherlands can now make that easier - giving surgeons an incredibly detailed look inside blood vessels, all the way to the patient’s heart. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Latin American Groups Seek Fans at Texas Music Festival

Latin American music groups played all over Austin, Texas, during the recent South by Southwest festival, and some made fans out of locals as well as people from around the world who had come to hear music. Such exposure can boost such groups' image back home. VOA’s Greg Flakus reports.
Video

Video Stockton Community, Police, Work to Improve Relations

Relations are tense between minority communities and police departments around the United States following police shootings that have generated widely-publicized protests. VOA's Mike O’Sullivan reports from Stockton, California, where police and community groups are working toward solutions, with backing from Washington.
Video

Video Indiana Controversy Highlights Divergent Meanings of Religious Freedom

Indiana’s state government has triggered a nationwide controversy by approving a law that critics say is aimed at allowing discrimination against gays and lesbians. The controversy stems from divergent notions of religious freedom in America. VOA's Jerome Socolovsky reports.
Video

Video Report: State of Black America a 'Tale of Two Nations'

The National Urban League has described this year's "State of Black America" report as a "tale of two nations." The group's annual report, released earlier this month (March), found that under an equality index African Americans had only 72% parity compared to whites in areas such as education, economics, health, social justice and civic engagement. It’s a gap that educators and students at Brooklyn’s Medgar Evers College are looking to close. VOA's Daniela Schrier reports from the school.
Video

Video Film Tells Story of Musicians in Mali Threatened by Jihadists

At this year's annual South by Southwest film and music festival in Austin, Texas, some musicians from Mali were on hand to promote a film about how their lives were upturned by jihadists who destroyed ancient treasures in the city of Timbuktu and prohibited anyone from playing music under threat of death. As VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from Austin, some are afraid to return to their hometowns even though the jihadists are no longer in control there.
Video

Video Ebola Vaccine Trials Underway in West Africa

Ebola has claimed the lives of more than 10,000 people in West Africa. Since last summer, researchers have rushed to get anti-Ebola vaccines into clinical trials. While it's too early to say that any of the potential vaccines work, some scientists say they are seeing strong results from some of the studies. VOA's Carol Pearson reports.
Video

Video Philippines Wants Tourists Spending Money at New Casinos

Tourism is a multi-billion dollar industry in the Philippines. Close to five million foreign visitors traveled there last year, perhaps lured by the country’s tropical beaches. But Jason Strother reports from Manila that the country hopes to entice more travelers to stay indoors and spend money inside new casinos.
Video

Video Civilian Casualties Push Men to Join Rebels in Ukraine

The continued fighting in eastern Ukraine and the shelling of civilian neighborhoods seem to be pushing more men to join the separatist fighters. Many of the new recruits are residents of Ukraine made bitter by new grievances, as well as old. VOA's Patrick Wells reports.
Video

Video Cambodian Land Grabs Threaten Traditional Communities

Indigenous communities in Cambodia's Ratanakiri province say the government’s economic land concession policy is taking away their land and traditional way of life, making many fear that their identity will soon be lost. Local authorities, though, have denied this is the case. VOA's Say Mony went to investigate and filed this report, narrated by Colin Lovett.

VOA Blogs

Circumventing Censorship

An Internet Primer for Healthy Web Habits

As surveillance and censoring technologies advance, so, too, do new tools for your computer or mobile device that help protect your privacy and break through Internet censorship.
More