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 International AIDS Conference One Goal, Many Paths

The 12,000 delegates attending 20th International AIDS Conference in Melbourne have vastly different visions about how to eradicate disease More

Disasters May Doom Malaysia’s Flag Carrier

Even before loss of two jets loaded with passengers on international flights, company had been operating in red for three years, accumulating deficit of $1.3 billion More

Afghan Presidential Vote Audit Continues Despite Glitches

Process has been marred by walkouts by representatives of two competing candidates, Abdullah Abdullah and Ashraf Ghani 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.
Nature of Space Exploration Enters New Agei
X
Elizabeth Lee
July 20, 2014 2:36 AM
Forty-five years ago this month, the first humans walked on the moon. It was during an era of the space race between the United States and the Soviet Union. World politics have changed since then and -- as Elizabeth Lee reports -- so has the nature of space exploration.
Video

Video Nature of Space Exploration Enters New Age

Forty-five years ago this month, the first humans walked on the moon. It was during an era of the space race between the United States and the Soviet Union. World politics have changed since then and -- as Elizabeth Lee reports -- so has the nature of space exploration.
Video

Video Chicago’s Argonne Lab Developing Battery of the Future

In 2012, the U.S. Department of Energy’s Office of Science awarded a $120 million grant to a new technology center focused on battery development - headquartered at Argonne National Laboratory in suburban Chicago, Illinois. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, there scientists are making the next technological breakthroughs in energy storage.
Video

Video In NW Pakistan, Army Offensive Causes Massive Number of Displaced

Pakistan’s army offensive in North Waziristan has resulted in the large-scale displacement of the local population. VOA's Ayaz Gul reports from northwest Pakistan where authorities say around 80 percent of the estimated 1 million internally displaced persons [IDPs] have settled in Bannu district, while much of the remaining 20 percent are scattered in nearby cities.
Video

Video Kurdish Peshmerga Force Secures Kirkuk, Its Oil

The Kurdistan regional government has sent its Peshmerga troops into the adjacent province of Kirkuk to drive out insurgents, and to secure the area's rich oil fields. By doing this, the regional government has added a fourth province to the three it officially controls. The oil also provides revenue that could make an independent Kurdistan economically strong. VOA’s Jeffrey Young went out with the Peshmerga and filed this report.
Video

Video Malaysia Reeling: Second Air Disaster in Four Months

Malaysia is reeling from the second air disaster in four months involving the country’s flag carrier. Flight 340 vanished in March and despite an extensive search, no debris has been found. And on Thursday, Flight 17, likely hit by a surface-to-air missile, came apart over eastern Ukraine. The two incidents together have left more than 500 people dead. VOA Correspondent Steve Herman reports from Kuala Lumpur.
Video

Video Diplomatic Crisis Grows Over MH17 Plane Crash

The Malaysia Airlines crash in eastern Ukraine is drawing reaction from leaders around the world. With suspicions growing that a surface-to-air missile shot down the aircraft, there are increasing tensions in the international community over who is to blame. Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London.
Video

Video Undocumented Immigrants Face Perilous Journey to US, No Guarantees

Every day, hundreds of undocumented immigrants from Central America attempt the arduous journey through Mexico and turn themselves over to U.S. border patrol -- with the hope that they will not be turned away. But the dangers they face along the way are many, and as Ramon Taylor reports from the Rio Grande Valley in Texas, their fate rests on more than just the reception they get at the US border.
Video

Video Scientists Create Blackest Material Ever

Of all the black things in the universe only the infamous "black holes" are so black that not even a tiny amount of light can bounce back. But scientists have managed to create material almost as black, and it has enormous potential use. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Fog Collector Transforming Maasai Water Harvesting in Kenya

The Maasai people of Kenya are known for their cattle-herding, nomadic lifestyle. But it's an existence that depends on access to adequate water for their herds and flocks. Lenny Ruvaga reports for VOA, on a "fog collector."

AppleAndroid