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

You May Like

Myanmar Fighting Poses Dilemma for China

To gain some insight into conflict, VOA’s Steve Herman spoke with Min Zaw Oo, director of ceasefire negotiation and implementation at Myanmar Peace Center More

Australia Concerned Over Islamic State 'Brides'

Canberra believes there are between 30 and 40 Australian women who have taken part in terror attacks or are supporting the Islamic State terror network More

Recreational Marijuana Use Now Legal in Washington, DC

Law allows adults 21 and over to privately possess and smoke 0.05 kilogram of pot, and to grow small amounts of the plant 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.
US Supreme Court Hears Hijab Discrimination Casei
X
Katherine Gypson
February 25, 2015 11:30 PM
The U.S. Supreme Court has heard opening arguments in a workplace religious discrimination case that examines whether a clothing store can refuse to hire a young woman for wearing the headscarf she says is a symbol of her Muslim faith. Katherine Gypson reports from the Supreme Court.
Video

Video US Supreme Court Hears Hijab Discrimination Case

The U.S. Supreme Court has heard opening arguments in a workplace religious discrimination case that examines whether a clothing store can refuse to hire a young woman for wearing the headscarf she says is a symbol of her Muslim faith. Katherine Gypson reports from the Supreme Court.
Video

Video Falling Gas Prices Hurt Nascent Illinois Hydraulic Fracturing Industry

Falling oil prices are helping consumers purchase cheaper petroleum at the pump. But that’s made hydraulic fracturing or “fracking” less economically viable for the companies in the United States invested in the process. VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports on one Midwestern town that was hoping to change its fortunes by cashing in on the next big U.S. oil boom.
Video

Video Fighting in Sudan's South Kordofan Fuels Mass Displacement

Heavy fighting in Sudan's South Kordofan state is causing hundreds of thousands to flee into uncertain conditions. Local aid organizations estimate as many as 400,000 civilians have been internally displaced since the conflict began more than three years ago, while another 250,000 have fled across the border to refugee camps in South Sudan. VOA's Adam Bailes reports.
Video

Video Lao Dam Project Runs Into Opposition

A Lao dam project on a section of the Mekong River is drawing opposition from local fishermen, international environmental groups and neighboring countries. VOA's Say Mony visited the region to investigate the concerns. Colin Lovett narrates.
Video

Video A Filmmaker Discovers Her Biracial Identity in "Little White Lie

Lacey Schwartz grew up in an upper middle-class Jewish family, in a town in upstate New York where almost everyone she knew was white. She assumed that she was, as well. Her recent documentary, Little White Lie, tells the story of how she uncovered the secret of her true racial background. VOA’s Carolyn Weaver has more on the film.
Video

Video Deep Under Antarctic Ice Sheet, Life!

With the end of summer in the Southern hemisphere, the Antarctic research season is over. Scientists from Northern Illinois University are back in their laboratory after a 3-month expedition on the Ross Ice Shelf, the world’s largest floating ice sheet. As VOA’s Rosanne Skirble reports, they hope to find clues to explain the dynamics of the rapidly melting ice and its impact on sea level rise.
Video

Video US-Cuba Normalization Talks Resume Friday

Negotiations aimed at normalizing diplomatic relations between the U.S. and Cuba resume Friday. On the table: lifting a half-century trade embargo and easing banking and travel restrictions. There's opposition in Congress, but some analysts say there may be sufficient political and economic incentives in both nations for a potential breakthrough this year. VOA's Mil Arcega reports.
Video

Video Pakistan's Deadline For SIM Registration Has Cellphone Users Scrambling

Pakistani cell phone users have until midnight Thursday to register their SIM cards, or their service will be cut off. While some privacy experts worry about government intrusion, many Pakistanis are just worried about keeping their phone lines open. VOA Deewa reporter Arshad Muhmand has more from Peshawar.
Video

Video Myanmar Warns Factory Workers to End Strikes

Outside Myanmar's main city Yangon, thousands of workers walked off their jobs earlier this month demanding a doubling of their wages, pay raises after a year and input from labor unions on industrial regulations. Since Friday, the standoff has grown more tense as police moved in to disrupt the sit-ins, resulting in clashes that injured people from both sides. VOA correspondent Steve Herman visited industrial zones which have become a focus of Myanmar's fledgling workers rights movement.
Video

Video Oscar Winners Do More Than Thank the Academy

The Academy Awards presentation is Hollywood’s night to reward the best movies from the previous year. It’s typically a lot of glitter, a lot of thank you’s, a lot of speeches. But many of this year’s speeches carried messages beyond the thank you's. VOA’s Carolyn Presutti takes a look.

All About America

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