News / Asia

US, South Korea Announce New Counter-Attack Plan

South Korean and U.S. army, gray, soldiers cheer after a live fire drill during the annual Foal Eagle maneuvers near Rodriguez Range in Pocheon, south of the demilitarized zone that divides the two Koreas, South Korea, March 15, 2012.
South Korean and U.S. army, gray, soldiers cheer after a live fire drill during the annual Foal Eagle maneuvers near Rodriguez Range in Pocheon, south of the demilitarized zone that divides the two Koreas, South Korea, March 15, 2012.
South Korean defense officials say a new contingency plan with the U.S. military will allow them to immediately and decisively counter any fresh provocations from North Korea.

The Combined Counter-Provocation Plan signed Friday comes amid one of the latest periods of high tension on the Korean peninsula since an armistice 60 years ago ended armed conflict between the North and the South.

South Korean officials say the new plan does not alter U.S. forces' wartime operational control of troops on the peninsula. However, it puts South Korea in the lead to respond to small-scale provocations by the North that would not meet the threshold of full-scale war.

Ministry of National Defense spokesman Kim Min-seok says under the new agreement the South can request support from U.S. forces when North Korea makes limited provocations.

Kim says various scenarios dealing with limited provocations have been established for such a request. He says this “will help curb North Korea so that it will not recklessly provoke.”

That assessment is echoed by South Korean Army Colonel Um Hyo-shik, the chief spokesman for South Korea's Joint Chiefs of Staff.

The colonel says the new agreement means the South Korean military is now equipped with an improved joint readiness posture so they can "quickly and firmly punish any kind of provocations of North Korea.”

South Korean media reports say Seoul and Washington agreed to sign the plan in January, but it was delayed because U.S. officials appeared uncomfortable with the South Koreans taking too aggressive a stance that could risk provocations escalating into full scale war as well as possible conflicts on armistice rules of engagement under with the U.S.-led U.N. Command.

Senior research Yang Uk at the Korea Defense and Security Forum says before  this agreement, the United States could have declined to come to the assistance of South Korea in responding to provocations short of all-out war.

Yang says now the United States will automatically respond alongside South Korea's military, if requested.

The most recent such provocation by the North occurred in November, 2010, when a South Korean frontier island was shelled, killing two civilians and two marines.

That incident came six months after 46 sailors were killed when a South Korean naval vessel was sunk.

South Korea on Monday carried out a naval drill in the Yellow Sea to mark the anniversary of the sinking of the corvette.

The South blames the North for the loss of the Cheonan warship. A multi-national investigation concluded that the coastal vessel was hit by a North Korean torpedo.

North Korea has denied any involvement in the sinking.

On Monday, the official workers party newspaper in Pyongyang, the Rodong Sinmun, accused the United States of preparing for war by calling North Korea a “nuclear criminal” to mislead the public.

Pyongyang is under various international sanctions for pursuing ballistic missile and nuclear weapons development in violation of U.N. resolutions.

The two Koreas technically remain in a state of war. A 1953 armistice, of which South Korea was not a signatory, halted three years of devastating conflict. Seoul and Pyongyang have never signed a peace treaty and have no diplomatic relations.

The United States maintains more than a dozen major bases and camps in South Korea and has nearly 30,000 military personnel posted in the
country.

Steve Herman

A veteran journalist, Steven L Herman is the Voice of America Asia correspondent.

You May Like

IS Militants Release 49 Turkish Hostages

Turkey's state-run Anadolu news agency reports that no ransom was paid and no conditions accepted for the hostages' release; few details of the release are known More

Photogallery IS Attacks Send Thousands of Syrian Kurds Fleeing to Turkey

Syrian Observatory for Human Rights says more than 300 Kurdish fighters crossed into Syria from Turkey to defend a Kurdish area from attack by the Islamic militants More

Video Sierra Leone's Ebola Lockdown Continues

Thousands of health workers are going door to door in the West African country of 6 million, informing people of how to avoid Ebola, handing out soap More

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
Comments
     
by: Ciaran Mulcahy from: Dublin, Ireland
March 26, 2013 6:25 PM
In theaccounts which I 'feel', that I have, hitherto, always, 'apparently' heard being emphasized, it was only 'North' Korea, which failed to sign the peace treaty, in 1953.

To me, at least, it makes adifference, if neither part of Korea signed the peace treaty, in 1953.


by: Hovhannes from: Montevideo
March 25, 2013 10:44 AM
North Korea needs a bloody nose to stop misbehaving like a spoilt child.


by: Michael from: USA
March 25, 2013 9:48 AM
The motto is: if you want to lower tensions on the Korean peninsula then do things that lower tension on the peninsula

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Fears Ebola Outbreak ‘Beyond Our Capability to Contain’i
X
Jeff Seldin
September 20, 2014 10:28 PM
Each day brings with it new warnings about the deadly Ebola outbreak already blamed for killing more than 2,600 people across West Africa. And while countries and international organizations like the United Nations are starting to come through on promises of help for those most affected, the unprecedented speed with which the virus has spread is raising questions about the international response. VOA's Jeff Seldin has more from Washington.
Video

Video Fears Ebola Outbreak ‘Beyond Our Capability to Contain’

Each day brings with it new warnings about the deadly Ebola outbreak already blamed for killing more than 2,600 people across West Africa. And while countries and international organizations like the United Nations are starting to come through on promises of help for those most affected, the unprecedented speed with which the virus has spread is raising questions about the international response. VOA's Jeff Seldin has more from Washington.
Video

Video Iran, World Powers Seek Progress in Nuclear Talks

Iran and the five permanent members of the U.N. Security Council plus Germany, known as the P5 + 1, have started a new round of talks on Iran's nuclear program. VOA State Department correspondent Pam Dockins reports that as the negotiations take place in New York, a U.S. envoy is questioning Iran's commitment to peaceful nuclear activity.
Video

Video Obama Goes to UN With Islamic State, Ebola on Agenda

President Obama goes to the United Nations General Assembly to rally nations to support a coalition against Islamic State militants in Iraq and Syria. He also will look for nations to back his plan to fight the Ebola virus in West Africa. As VOA White House correspondent Luis Ramirez reports, Obama’s efforts reflect new moves by the U.S. administration to take a leading role in addressing world crises.
Video

Video Migrants Caught in No-Man's Land Called Calais

The deaths of hundreds of migrants in the Mediterranean this week has only recast the spotlight on the perils of reaching Europe. And for those forunate enough to reach a place like Calais, France, only find that their problems aren't over. Lisa Bryant has the story.
Video

Video Westgate Siege Anniversary Brings Back Painful Memories

One year after it happened, the survivors of the terror attack on Nairobi's Westgate Shopping Mall still cannot shake the images of that tragic incident. For VOA, Mohammed Yusuf tells the story of victims still waiting for the answer to the question 'how could this happen?'
Video

Video Militant Assault in Syria Displaces Thousands of Kurds

A major assault by Islamic State militants on Kurds in Syria has sent a wave of new refugees to the Turkish border, where they were stopped by Turkish border security. Turkey is already hosting about 700,000 Syrian refugees who fled the civil war between the government and the opposition. But the government in Ankara has a history of strained relations with Turkey's Kurdish minority. Zlatica Hoke reports Turkey is asking for international help.
Video

Video Whaling Summit Votes to Uphold Ban on Japan Whale Hunt

The International Whaling Commission, meeting in Slovenia, has voted to uphold a court ruling banning Japan from hunting whales in the Antarctic Ocean. Conservationists hailed the ruling as a victory, but Tokyo says it will submit revised plans for a whale hunt in 2015. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video A Dinosaur Fit for Land and Water

Residents and tourists in Washington D.C. can now examine a life-size replica of an unusual dinosaur that lived almost a hundred million years ago in northern Africa. Scientists say studying the behemoth named Spinosaurus helps them better understand how some prehistoric animals adapted to life on land and in water. The Spinosaurus replica is on display at the National Geographic museum. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Iraqi Kurdistan Church Helps Christian Children Cope find shelter in churches in the Kurdish capital, Irbil

In the past six weeks, tens of thousands of Iraqi Christians have been forced to flee their homes by Islamic State militants and find shelter in churches in the Kurdish capital, Irbil. Despite U.S. airstrikes in the region, the prospect of people returning home is still very low and concerns are starting to grow over the impact this is having on the displaced youth. Sebastian Meyer reports from Irbil on how one church is coping.


Carnage and mayhem are part of daily life in northern Nigeria, the result of a terror campaign by the Islamist group Boko Haram. Fears are growing that Nigeria’s government may not know how to counter it, and may be making things worse. More

AppleAndroid