News / Asia

US Says 'Nothing Provocative' About South Korean Military Drills

TEXT SIZE - +

The United States said Thursday South Korean artillery exercises planned for the next few days are routine and appropriate, and that North Korea should not see them as a provocation. The drills, in a coastal area near North Korean waters, are the first since Pyongyang responded to a similar exercise November 23 with a lethal attack on a South Korean island.

U.S. officials concede they are worried about a possible repeat of the November violence, and are stressing in advance that the South Korean exercises are "perfectly legitimate" and routine.

South Korea has announced it will stage maritime artillery drills between Friday and next Tuesday in waters near Yeonpyeong island, which was shelled by North Korea November 23 following a similar South Korean exercise.

Four South Koreans were killed by the shelling, which was the first North Korean attack on a South Korean civilian area since the 1953 Korean armistice.

At the White House, the vice-chairman of the U.S. military joint chiefs of staff, Marine General James Cartwright  said there is worry in Washington that North Korea might fire back at South Korean artillery sites and set off a chain reaction of uncontrolled escalation.

Cartwright said the exercise is being held on a well-established and well-used firing range in a transparent way.

There were similar comments here from State Department Spokesman P.J. Crowley who said the planned drill is "perfectly legitimate" and that North Korea should not see it as provocative. "We've been fully briefed on the plan for this exercise. We always stand ready as an ally, and are committed to the defense of South Korea. These are routine exercises. There's nothing provocative or unusual or threatening about these exercises. The North Koreans have been notified about what South Korea plans to do," he said.

South Korea had called off plans for a similar exercise several days ago.

Its latest announcement comes amid intensive diplomacy on the Korean situation.

New Mexico state governor Bill Richardson, a former U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations and diplomatic troubleshooter  arrived in Pyongyang on a private mission he said is aimed at easing tensions and bringing North Korea back into nuclear talks.

Meantime, a U.S. teamed headed by Deputy Secretary of State James Steinberg held talks in Beijing with senior Chinese officials, including State Councilor Dai Bingguo who just visited Pyongyang.

Spokesman Crowley said the Obama administration wants China to use its considerable leverage with Pyongyang to cool tension. "Clearly we want China to use all of its influence to make clear to North Korea that these provocations are unwarranted, they do raise tensions and they are opposed to both our interests and China's interest. We have a shared interest here. We want to see peace and stability in the region and we want to make sure that China is using its influence to try to steer North Korea in a different direction," he said.

Crowley meanwhile appeared to dismiss a Japanese report that China has been given, for relay to Pyongyang, a joint list of U.S., South Korean and Japanese terms for the resumption of Chinese-sponsored  six-party talks on North Korea's nuclear program.

He said North Korea already knows what it needs to do to restore the stalled dialogue: including ending provocations, improving relations with South Korea, and taking "affirmative steps" to denuclearize under a 2005 joint statement of the six parties.

You May Like

Multimedia Anti-Keystone XL Protests Continue

Demonstrators are worried about pipeline's effect on climate change, their traditional way of life, health and safety More

Thailand's Political Power Struggle Continues

Court gave Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra until May 2 to prepare her defense over abuse of power charges but uncertainty remains over election timing More

Malaysia Plane Search Tests Limits of Ocean Mapping Technology

Expert tells VOA existing equipment’s maximum operating depth is around 6 kilometers as operation continues on ocean bed for any trace of MH370 More

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.
Pet Kangaroo Helps Spread Environmental Messagei
X
Penelope Poulou
April 22, 2014 5:53 PM
Children’s author Julia Heckathorn travels the world to learn about different ecosystems and endangered animals. She pours her knowledge into children’s books, hoping the next generation will right the environmental wrongs of our times. As in many children's books, the main character in Heckathorn's stories is an animal. Unlike those other characters, though, this one is real - a kangaroo, that lives in the author’s backyard. VOA’s Penelope Poulou has more.
Video

Video Pet Kangaroo Helps Spread Environmental Message

Children’s author Julia Heckathorn travels the world to learn about different ecosystems and endangered animals. She pours her knowledge into children’s books, hoping the next generation will right the environmental wrongs of our times. As in many children's books, the main character in Heckathorn's stories is an animal. Unlike those other characters, though, this one is real - a kangaroo, that lives in the author’s backyard. VOA’s Penelope Poulou has more.
Video

Video Pro-Russian Separatists Plan 'Federalization Referendum' in Eastern Ukraine

Pro-Russian separatists in eastern Ukraine say they plan to move forward next month with a referendum vote for greater autonomy, despite the Geneva agreement reached with Russia, the U.S. and Ukraine to end the political conflict. VOA's Brian Padden reports from the city of Donetsk in Eastern Ukraine.
Video

Video Pope Francis Hopes Dual Canonizations Will Reconcile Church

On April 27, two popes - John the XXIII and John Paul II - will be made saints in a ceremony at St. Peter’s Square. VOA religion correspondent Jerome Socolovsky says the dual canonization is part of the current pope’s program to reconcile liberals and conservatives in the Roman Catholic Church.
Video

Video In Capturing Nature's Majesty, Film Makes Case for Its Survival

French filmmaker Luc Jacquet won worldwide acclaim for his 2005 Academy Award-winning documentary "March of the Penguins". Now Jacquet is back with a new film that takes movie-goers deep into the heart of a tropical rainforest - not only to celebrate its grandeur, but to make the case for its survival. VOA's Rosanne Skirble reports.
Video

Video Boston Marathon Bittersweet for Many Runners

Monday's running of the Boston Marathon was bittersweet for many of the 36,000 participants as they finished the run that was interrupted by a double bombing last year. Many gathered along the route paid respect to the four people killed as a result of two bombings near the finish line. VOA's Carolyn Presutti returned to Boston this year to follow two runners, forever changed because of the crimes.
Video

Video International Students Learn Film Production in World's Movie Capital

Hollywood - which is part of Los Angeles - is the movie capital of the world, and many aspiring filmmakers go there in hopes of breaking into the movie business. Mike O'Sullivan reports that regional universities are also a magnet for students who hope to become producers or directors.
Video

Video Pacific Rim Trade Deal Proves Elusive

With the U.S.-led war in Iraq ended and American military involvement in Afghanistan winding down, President Barack Obama has sought to pivot the country's foreign policy focus towards Asia. One aspect of that pivot is the negotiation of a free-trade agreement among 12 Pacific Rim nations. But as Obama leaves this week on a trip to four Asian countries he has found it very difficult to complete the trade pact. VOA's Ken Bredemeier has more from Washington.
Video

Video Autistic Adults Face Housing, Job Challenges

Many parents of children with disabilities fear for the future of their adult child. It can be difficult to find services to help adults with disabilities - physical, mental or emotional - find work or live on their own. The mother of an autistic boy set up a foundation to advocate for the estimated 1.2 million American adults with autism, a developmental disorder that causes communication difficulties and often social difficulties. VOA's Faiza Elmasry reports.
AppleAndroid