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

India PM Modi's party distances itself from religious conversions

BJP under fire for being slow to rein in hardline affiliate groups allegedly trying to promote a Hindu-dominant agenda by luring Muslims and Christians to convert to Hinduism More

Anti-Whaling Group Found in Contempt of Court

Radical environmentalists who threw acid and smoke bombs at Japanese whalers in the waters off Antarctica continue their campaign to disrupt Japan's annual whale hunt More

UN's Ban Urges End to Discrimination Against Ebola Workers

Ban was speaking in Guinea on the second day of a whistle-stop tour aimed at thanking healthcare workers of the countries at the heart of the epidemic 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.
Sudan School Becomes Target of Aerial Attacksi
X
December 19, 2014 12:45 AM
The school dropout rate is at an all-time high in Sudan's South Kordofan state because many schools have been destroyed during the three-year civil war between the government and SPLA-N rebel forces. Adam Bailes visited Sudan's Nuba Mountains' region and reports many children are simply too scared to go to school
Video

Video Sudan School Becomes Target of Aerial Attacks

The school dropout rate is at an all-time high in Sudan's South Kordofan state because many schools have been destroyed during the three-year civil war between the government and SPLA-N rebel forces. Adam Bailes visited Sudan's Nuba Mountains' region and reports many children are simply too scared to go to school
Video

Video VOA Reporter Tours Devastated Peshawar School

Islamist militants wearing military uniforms and strapped with explosives attacked a military run school Tuesday in the northwestern Pakistani city of Peshawar. At least 141 people were killed in the horrific attack, most of them young students. VOA reporter Ayaz Gul visited the devastated school and attended the funeral of the principal who courageously tried to save her students from the deadly attack.
Video

Video Nigerians Fleeing Boko Haram Languish in Camp Near Capital

In its five-year effort to impose Islamic law in northeastern Nigeria, the Boko Haram extremist group has killed thousands of people and forced hundreds of thousands to flee. Some of those who ran for their lives now live in squalor on the edges of the capital, Abuja. Chris Stein reports for VOA.
Video

Video Putin Says Russian Economy Will Emerge Stronger

Russian President Vladimir Putin has said his country's sinking economy will not only recover but also become stronger, despite falling oil prices and Western sanctions over Ukraine. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports.
Video

Video Detained Turkish Journalists Follow Teachings of US-Based Preacher

The Turkish government’s jailing of critical journalists has sparked international condemnation and is being seen as an effort to undermine the followers of an ailing Turkish preacher based in the United States. VOA religion reporter Jerome Socolovsky has more.
Video

Video ‘Anti-Islamization’ Marches Increase Tensions In Germany

Anti-immigrant rallies in Germany have been building in recent weeks, peaking Monday night in the city of Dresden where tens of thousands of people turned out to demonstrate against what they call the ‘Islamization’ of the West. Germany has offered asylum to more Syrian refugees than any other country, and this appears to have set off the protests. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video Aceh Rebuilt Decade After Tsunami, But Scars Remain

On December 26, 2004 there was an earthquake in the Indian Ocean so powerful it caused the Earth’s axis to wobble a few centimeters. Onshore on the island of Sumatra, the resulting tsunami was devastating. A decade later, VOA Correspondent Steve Herman reports from Banda Aceh, Indonesia, where although there is little remaining evidence of the physical devastation, the psychological scars among survivors remain.
Video

Video Refugees Living in Kenya Long for Peace in the Home Countries

Kenya is host to numerous refugees seeking safe haven from conflict. Immigrants from Somalia face challenges in their new lives in Kenya. Ahead of International Migrants Day (December 18) Lenny Ruvaga has more for VOA News from the Kenyan capital.

All About America

AppleAndroid