News / Asia

    US Deploys Additional Defensive Patriot Missile System in South Korea

    A U.S. Patriot missile is seen at the Osan U.S. Air Base in Pyeongtaek, South Korea, Feb. 13, 2016.
    A U.S. Patriot missile is seen at the Osan U.S. Air Base in Pyeongtaek, South Korea, Feb. 13, 2016.

    The United States has temporarily deployed an additional Patriot missile battery in South Korea.  The move was done in response to North Korea's nuclear test and long-range missile launch.

    Commander of the U.S. Eighth Army Lt. Gen. Thomas Vandal said "exercises like this ensure we are always ready to defend against an attack from North Korea."

    The temporary deployment came ahead of talks the U.S. and South Korea are set to hold in the coming week on deploying a more advanced missile defense system, a Seoul defense official confirmed.

    THAAD missile system

    Washington and Seoul formally announced last week they intend to deploy the Terminal High-Altitude Area Defense missile system, known as THAAD, in South Korea at the earliest possible date.

    Exactly when and where the system will be deployed will be the subject of formal discussions to take place "as early as next week," according to a South Korean defense ministry official, who spoke anonymously Friday.

    The official also stressed the THAAD deployment is only meant to protect South Korea from the north's growing nuclear and missile capabilities, and will not target other countries in the region.

    U.S. officials have not commented on when the talks will take place.

    China, Russia complaining

    China and Russia have both complained about the possible deployment. In a statement Friday, Beijing's Foreign Minister Wang Yi expressed "serious concern," saying the system would "significantly undermine the strategic interest of China."

    The U.S. and South Korea have long been reported to be considering the THAAD deployment. But the plan appears to have accelerated after North Korea launched a long-range rocket Sunday and placed what it described as an "Earth observation satellite" into orbit, just weeks after carrying out its fourth nuclear test.

    FILE - A THAAD interceptor is launched from Meck Island on its way to an intercept of a ballistic missile target during U.S. Missile Defense Agency’s historic flight test, Oct. 24, 2012 (DoD / Missile Defense Agency)
    FILE - A THAAD interceptor is launched from Meck Island on its way to an intercept of a ballistic missile target during U.S. Missile Defense Agency’s historic flight test, Oct. 24, 2012 (DoD / Missile Defense Agency)

    In recent years, North Korea has repeatedly threatened to carry out nuclear attacks on the U.S., Seoul and Japan. With its latest tests, Pyongyang appears to be closing in on the capability to do so.

    The U.S. and its allies have responded with calls to ramp up international sanctions against the north.

    US, South Korea coordination

    On Friday, U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry met with South Korean Foreign Minister Yun Byung-se on the sidelines of a security conference in Munich, Germany.

    "The two ministers agreed to continue our close coordination towards a robust and united international response to the DPRK’s violations of multiple U.N. Security Council Resolutions that threaten international peace and security," said a U.S. statement.

    U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry, right, and South Korea's Foreign Minister Yun Byung-se shake hands during a meeting in Munich, Germany, prior to the start of the Munich Security Conference, Feb. 12, 2016.
    U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry, right, and South Korea's Foreign Minister Yun Byung-se shake hands during a meeting in Munich, Germany, prior to the start of the Munich Security Conference, Feb. 12, 2016.

    Kerry "reaffirmed the U.S. ironclad commitment to the defense of the Republic of Korea and Japan and noted the vital importance of continued communication and cooperation among the three countries," the statement added.

    Kerry met separately with Chinese Foreign Minister Wang. During the meeting, he "urged China to use their influence in Pyongyang to help the international community increase pressure" on North Korea, the State Department said.

    The North's rocket launch and nuclear test also set off a new round of tensions between North and South Korea, which have remained in a technical state of war since their 1950s conflict.

    Kaesong closing

    This week, North Korea ordered all South Koreans to leave the jointly run Kaesong industrial complex that lies along the border and is one of the only areas of cooperation between the two countries.

    Pyongyang said employees could only take personal belongings with them and ordered a "complete freeze" on the assets left behind. It said the expulsions were a reaction to Seoul's decision a day earlier to shut down its operations at the park.

    South Korean owners who run factories in the suspended inter-Korean Kaesong Industrial Complex, attend an emergency meeting held by the council of South Korean companies operating in the industrial park, in Seoul, S. Korea, Feb. 12, 2016.
    South Korean owners who run factories in the suspended inter-Korean Kaesong Industrial Complex, attend an emergency meeting held by the council of South Korean companies operating in the industrial park, in Seoul, S. Korea, Feb. 12, 2016.

    South Korea on Friday warned the North that it acted "illegally" in freezing the South Korean assets and in forcing out the personnel. Meanwhile, the North said South Korea's actions amounted to "a declaration of war."

    The North also declared the area a military zone, and said it was cutting off all military communications with Seoul, including the hotline at the border truce village of Panmunjom.

    You May Like

    Former US Envoys Urge Obama to Delay Troop Cuts in Afghanistan

    Keeping troop levels up during conflict with both Taliban and Islamic State is necessary to support Kabul government, they say

    First Lady to Visit Africa to Promote Girls' Education

    Michele Obama will be joined by daughters and actresses Meryl Streep and Freida Pinto

    Video NYSE Analyst: Brexit Will Continue to Place Pressure on Markets

    Despite orderly pricing and execution strategy at the New York Stock Exchange, analyst explains added pressure on world financial markets is likely

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    Brexit Vote Plunges Global Markets Into Uncharted Territoryi
    X
    June 24, 2016 9:38 PM
    British voters plunged global markets into unknown territory after they voted Thursday to leave the European Union. The results of the Brexit vote, the term coined to describe the referendum, caught many off guard. Analysts say the resulting volatility could last for weeks, perhaps longer. Mil Arcega reports.
    Video

    Video Brexit Vote Plunges Global Markets Into Uncharted Territory

    British voters plunged global markets into unknown territory after they voted Thursday to leave the European Union. The results of the Brexit vote, the term coined to describe the referendum, caught many off guard. Analysts say the resulting volatility could last for weeks, perhaps longer. Mil Arcega reports.
    Video

    Video Orlando Shooting Changes Debate on Gun Control

    It’s been nearly two weeks since the largest mass shooting ever in the United States. Despite public calls for tighter gun control laws, Congress is at an impasse. Democratic lawmakers resorted to a 1960s civil rights tactic to portray their frustration. VOA’s Carolyn Presutti explains how the Orlando, Florida shooting is changing the debate.
    Video

    Video Tunisian Fishing Town Searches for Jobs, Local Development Solutions

    As the European Union tries to come to grips with its migrant crisis, some newcomers are leaving voluntarily. But those returning to their home countries face an uncertain future.  Five years after Tunisia's revolution, the tiny North African country is struggling with unrest, soaring unemployment and plummeting growth. From the southern Tunisian fishing town of Zarzis, Lisa Bryant takes a look for VOA at a search for local solutions.
    Video

    Video 'American Troops' in Russia Despite Tensions

    Historic battle re-enactment is a niche hobby with a fair number of adherents in Russia where past military victories are played-up by the Kremlin as a show of national strength. But, one group of World War II re-enactors in Moscow has the rare distinction of choosing to play western ally troops. VOA's Daniel Schearf explains.
    Video

    Video Experts: Very Few Killed in US Gun Violence Are Victims of Mass Shootings

    The deadly shooting at a Florida nightclub has reignited the debate in the U.S. over gun control. Although Congress doesn't provide government health agencies funds to study gun violence, public health experts say private research has helped them learn some things about the issue. VOA's Carol Pearson reports.
    Video

    Video Trump Unleashes Broadside Against Clinton to Try to Ease GOP Doubts

    Recent public opinion polls show Republican Donald Trump slipping behind Democrat Hillary Clinton in the presidential election matchup for November. Trump trails her both in fundraising and campaign organization, but he's intensifying his attacks on the former secretary of state. VOA National Correspondent Jim Malone reports.
    Video

    Video Muslim American Mayor Calls for Tolerance

    Syrian-born Mohamed Khairullah describes himself as "an American mayor who happens to be Muslim." As the three-term mayor of Prospect Park, New Jersey, he believes his town of 6,000 is an example of how ethnicity and religious beliefs should not determine a community's leadership. Ramon Taylor has this report from Prospect Park.
    Video

    Video Internal Rifts Over Syria Policy Could Be Headache for Next US President

    With the Obama administration showing little outward enthusiasm for adopting a more robust Syria policy, there is a strong likelihood that the internal discontent expressed by State Department employees will roll over to the next administration. VOA State Department correspondent Pam Dockins reports.
    Video

    Video Senegal to Park Colorful ‘Cars Rapide’ Permanently

    Brightly painted cars rapide are a hallmark of Dakar, offering residents a cheap way to get around the capital city since 1976. But the privately owned minibuses are scheduled to be parked for good in late 2018, as Ricci Shryock reports for VOA.
    Video

    Video Florida Gets $1 Million in Emergency Government Funding for Orlando

    The U.S. government has granted $1 million in emergency funding to the state of Florida to cover the costs linked to the June 12 massacre in Orlando. U.S. Attorney General Loretta Lynch announced the grant Tuesday in Orlando, where she met with survivors of the shooting attack that killed 49 people. Zlatica Hoke reports.
    Video

    Video How to Print Impossible Shapes with Metal

    3-D printing with metals is rapidly becoming more advanced. As printers become more affordable, the industry is partnering with universities to refine processes for manufacturing previously impossible things. A new 3-D printing lab aims to bring the new technology closer to everyday use. VOA's George Putic reports.
    Video

    Video Big Somali Community in Minnesota Observes Muslim Religious Feast

    Ramadan is widely observed in the north central US state of Minnesota, which a large Muslim community calls home. VOA Somali service reporter Mohmud Masadde files this report from Minneapolis, the state's biggest city.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora