News / Asia

US, South Korea Announce 'Show of Force'

The United States and South Korea formally announced Tuesday they will conduct naval exercises in the Yellow Sea, between China and the Korean Peninsula, in spite of Chinese government objections.  The announcement was made following a meeting between U.S. Defense Secretary Robert Gates and his South Korean counterpart, Kim Tae-young.

According to a joint statement, the first of a series of exercises will begin Sunday in the Sea of Japan, east of the Korean Peninsula.  It will involve the U.S. aircraft carrier George Washington, about 20 American and South Korean warships and numerous aircraft.  Officials call this a "large scale" exercise, but say final decisions have not yet been made about additional naval and air maneuvers planned for the Yellow Sea, between the Korean Peninsula and China.

The Chinese government has strongly objected to that plan, saying such a move will raise tensions and threaten its vital interests.

A South Korean rear admiral, Kim Kyung Sik, describes the exercises as a "formidable show of force" and "a clear warning to North Korea."

The commander of U.S. forces in the Pacific, Admiral Robert Willard, told reporters in Seoul the exercises are designed to signal "intolerance" for the sinking of the South Korean Navy vessel Cheonan in March, killing 46 sailors.  An international investigation blamed North Korea, but it denies involvement. Willard says the United States and South Korea have chosen not to respond with military moves several times when North Korea has carried out various attacks over the years and provocative tests of its ballistic missile and nuclear weapons capabilities.

"This is a show of force intended to send a signal to North Korea with regard to what has occurred.  And, it is intended also to signal the region the resolve of this alliance and our commitment to one another and the scope and scale of our ability to operate together," said Willard.

The exercises will include practice defending against submarine attacks, such as the one that allegedly sank the South Korean ship.

The top U.S. military officer, Admiral Mike Mullen, says such exercises are important, particularly in the sensitive and difficult to navigate international waters between the Chinese and Korean coasts, where the Cheonan attack happened.

"The anti-submarine area, finding submarines, is a difficult military undertaking in any warfare community, in any service. And then, operating specifically in the West Sea, in that water, is much more demanding than in the East Sea.  So that's why it's important that these exercises be done jointly and constantly," said Mullen.  "You have to stay current. You have to do it all the time."

U.S. officials acknowledge these exercises may not convince North Korea to change its policies, and they express some frustration at the difficulty of influencing the country's leaders on many issues. They call these exercises a "first step" designed to show North Korea its "behavior has to change." And they say, although these exercises were planned to respond to the ship sinking, there is nothing unusual about American forces operating in the area.  

Former Bush administration official Stephen Yates says China should consider joint exercises a relatively light response to a ship sinking, which many consider an act of war.

"If a Chinese vessel had been attacked and sunk, what would their people be demanding by way of a show of force?  I think that South Koreans wanting to have this kind of a joint exercise is quite mild actually," said Yates.

Northeast Asia researcher Denny Roy, of the East-West Center in Hawaii, is not surprised at China's objections to the exercises.

"China is, of course, not going to be happy about military exercises conducted by a potential adversary, to put it bluntly, near the Chinese coast," said Roy.

But Roy says China made a mistake by objecting so strongly to the American and South Korean plan.

"I think it was, frankly, rather ill-advised of the Chinese to put themselves in the position of specifically warning the United States not to carry out this exercise, particularly given that the Chinese are partly responsible for the sense of heightened security risk in the region because of North Korea's actions," he said.  "The Chinese come out losers in this particular episode, having specifically warned against the United States doing this and putting their prestige and credibility on the line, but then having been rebuffed by the Unite States' going ahead with the plan."

The U.S. Pacific commander, Admiral Willard, says China was not consulted about the military exercise plan and he is not worried that China might extend the suspension of military relations with the United States, as a result. Rather, he says his concern is that China should use its influence to convince North Korea not to conduct such attacks in the future.

You May Like

At Khmer Rouge Court, Long-Awaited Verdict Approaches

First phase of trial, which is coming to an end, has focused on forced exodus of Phnom Penh in 1975 - and now many are hopeful justice will be served More

Video When Fighting Eases, Gazans Line Up at Bakeries

When there is a lull in the conflict, residents who have been hunkered down in their apartments rush out to stock up on food and other necessities More

Video Information War Rages Alongside Real One in Ukraine

Downing of Malaysian airliner, allegations of cross-border shelling move information war in war-torn country to a new level 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.
Information War Rages Alongside Real One in Ukrainei
X
Al Pessin
July 31, 2014 8:13 PM
The downing of the Malaysian airliner two weeks ago, and allegations that Russians are shelling Ukrainian troops across the border, have moved the information war swirling around the Ukrainian conflict to a new level. VOA's Al Pessin reports from Kyiv.
Video

Video Information War Rages Alongside Real One in Ukraine

The downing of the Malaysian airliner two weeks ago, and allegations that Russians are shelling Ukrainian troops across the border, have moved the information war swirling around the Ukrainian conflict to a new level. VOA's Al Pessin reports from Kyiv.
Video

Video When Fighting Eases, Gazans Line Up at Bakeries

When there is a lull in the conflict in Gaza, residents who have been hunkered down in their apartments rush out to stock up on food and other necessities. Probably the most important destination is the local bakery. VOA’s Scott Bobb reports from Gaza City.
Video

Video US-Funded Program Offers Honduran Children Alternative to Illegal Immigration

President Obama and Central American leaders recently agreed to come up with a plan to address poverty and crime in the region that is fueling the surge of young migrants trying to illegally enter the United States. VOA’s Brian Padden looks at one such program in Honduras - funded in part by the United States - which gives street kids not only food and safety but a chance for a better life without, crossing the border.
Video

Video 'Fab Lab' Igniting Revolution in Kenya

The University of Nairobi’s Science and Technology Park is banking on 3-D prototyping to spark a manufacturing revolution in the country. Lenny Ruvaga has more for from Nairobi's so-called “FabLab” for VOA.
Video

Video Gazans in Shelled School Sought Shelter

Israel's air and ground assault against Hamas-led fighters in Gaza has forced many Palestinians to flee their homes, seeking safety. But safe places are hard to find, as VOA’s Scott Bobb reports from Jabaliya.
Video

Video Rapid Spread of Ebola in West Africa Prompts Global Alert

Across West Africa, health officials are struggling to keep up with what the World Health Organization describes as the worst ebola outbreak on record. The virus has killed hundreds of people this year. U.S. President Barack Obama and other world leaders are watching the developments closely as they weigh what actions, if any, are needed to help contain the disease.
Video

Video Michelle Obama: Young Africans Need to Embrace Women's Rights

U.S. first lady Michelle Obama urged some of Africa's best and brightest to advocate for women's rights in their home countries. As VOA's Pam Dockins explains, Obama spoke to some 500 participants of the Young African Leaders Initiative, a six-week U.S.-based training and development program.
Video

Video Immigrant Influx on Texas Border Heats Up Political Debate

Immigrants from Central America continue to cross the U.S.-Mexico border in south Texas, seeking asylum in the United States, as officials grapple with ways to deal with the problem and provide shelter for thousands of minors among the illegal border crossers. As VOA's Greg Flakus reports from Houston, the issue is complicated by internal U.S. politics and U.S. relations with the troubled nations that immigrants are fleeing.
Video

Video Study: Latino Students Most Segregated in California

Even though legal school segregation ended in the United States 60 years ago, one study finds segregation still occurs in the U.S. based on income and race. The University of California Los Angeles Civil Rights Project finds that students in California are more segregated by race than ever before, especially Latinos. Elizabeth Lee reports for VOA from Los Angeles.

AppleAndroid