News / Asia

    Pentagon Denies Plan to Send Carrier to South Korean Exercise

    Al Pessin

    The Pentagon is denying reports from Seoul there will be a joint U.S.-South Korean naval exercise as early as next week in response to the conclusion of an international investigation that North Korea sank a South Korean ship in March.  Officials also deny that there is a plan for a U.S. aircraft carrier to be involved in any exercises off the Korean coast.

    Two senior spokesmen have denied the reports.  In an e-mail, Pentagon Press Secretary Geoff Morrell said "no carriers are going anywhere near the Korean peninsula  anytime soon."  Morrell is in Singapore, where U.S. Defense Secretary Robert Gates will discuss the Korean tensions with his South Korean and Japanese counterparts, as well as with senior defense officials from other Asian nations.  Morrell says Gates has made no decision to send an aircraft carrier to the region, and no such decision is expected soon.

    In Seoul, the defense ministry spokesman told reporters earlier that a U.S.-South Korean naval exercises will start on Monday in the Yellow Sea, near the area where the South Korean ship was sunk.  Some reports said it would involve a U.S. aircraft carrier based in Japan.  

    But at the Pentagon, spokesman Bryan Whitman said that is not accurate.

    "There have not been any decisions with respect to these reports I see about carrier exercises," said Bryan Whitman. "I have talked to you about the exercises that the United States is contemplating and planning with respect to the Republic of Korea.  And those are some maritime security exercises and an anti-submarine exercise that is going to take place later this month or early next month."

    Whitman had previously announced those two joint U.S.-South Korean naval exercises in response to the ship sinking.  Another official says there could be a joint U.S.-South Korean announcement in Seoul on Friday to clarify exactly what exercises will be held, and when, and which ships will be involved.  

    Some experts caution that if an aircraft carrier is sent it could provoke a strong reaction from North Korea.  American aircraft carriers are the largest and most capable navy ships in the world, with dozens of fighter jets and other significant firepower on board.    

    Shortly before landing in Singapore Thursday evening, Secretary Gates told reporters on his plane the United States is considering additional joint exercises with South Korea, but he did not provide specifics.

    "An important element this time will be to reassure the South Koreans of our support as they face these provocations and a North [Korea] that seems even more unpredictable than usual," said Robert Gates.

    The international investigation concluded that a torpedo fired by a North Korean submarine sank the South Korean Navy ship the Cheonan, killing 46 men on board.  North Korea has denied involvement.  

    Gates had hoped to discuss the Korean tensions with Chinese officials during his trip, but China said 'no' to his plan to visit Beijing and did not even send a senior delegation to the annual Singapore conference.   

    You May Like

    California Republicans Mull Choices in Presidential Race

    Ted Cruz tells state's Republican Convention delegates campaign will be 'battle on the ground, district by district by district,' ahead of June 7 primary

    Video Kurdish Football Team Helps War-Torn City Cope

    With conflict still raging across much of Turkey’s predominantly Kurdish southeast, many Kurds are trying to escape turmoil by focusing on success of football team Amedspor

    South African Company Designs Unique Solar Cooker

    Two-man team of solar power technologists introduces Sol4, hot plate that heats up so fast it’s like cooking with gas or electricity

    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.
    Turkish Kurd Islamist Rally Stokes Tensionsi
    X
    April 29, 2016 12:28 AM
    In a sign of the rising power of Islamists in Turkey, more than 100,000 people recently gathered in Diyarbakir, the main city in Turkey’s predominantly Kurdish southeast, to mark the birthday of the Prophet Muhammad. The gathering highlighted tensions with the pro-secular Kurdish nationalist movement. Dorian Jones reports from Diyarbakir.
    Video

    Video Turkish Kurd Islamist Rally Stokes Tensions

    In a sign of the rising power of Islamists in Turkey, more than 100,000 people recently gathered in Diyarbakir, the main city in Turkey’s predominantly Kurdish southeast, to mark the birthday of the Prophet Muhammad. The gathering highlighted tensions with the pro-secular Kurdish nationalist movement. Dorian Jones reports from Diyarbakir.
    Video

    Video Pakistani School Helps Slum Kids

    Master Mohammad Ayub runs a makeshift school in a public park in Islamabad. Thousands of poor children have benefited from his services over the years, but, as VOA's Ayesha Tanzeem reports, roughly 25 million school-age youths don't get an education in Pakistan.
    Video

    Video Florida’s Weeki Wachee ‘Mermaids’ Make a Splash

    Since 1947, ‘mermaids’ have fascinated tourists at central Florida’s Weeki Wachee Springs State Park with their fluid movements and synchronized ballet. Performing underwater has its challenges, including cold temperatures and a steady current, as VOA’s Lin Yang and Joseph Mok report.
    Video

    Video Somali, African Union Forces Face Resurgent Al-Shabab

    The Islamic State terror group claimed its first attack in Somalia earlier this week, though the claim has not been verified by forces on the ground. Meanwhile, al-Shabab militants have stepped up their attacks as Somalia prepares for elections later this year. Henry Ridgwell reports there are growing frustrations among Somalia’s Western backers over the country’s slow progress in forming its own armed forces to establish security after 25 years of chaos.
    Video

    Video Bangladesh Targeted Killings Spark Wave of Fear

    People in Bangladesh’s capital are expressing deep concern over the brutal attacks that have killed secular blogger, and most recently a gay rights activist and an employee of the U.S. embassy. Xulhaz Mannan, an embassy protocol officer and the editor of the country’s only gay and transgender magazine Roopban; and his friend Mehboob Rabbi Tanoy, a gay rights activist, were hacked to death by five attackers in Mannan’s Dhaka home earlier this month.
    Video

    Video Documentary Tells Tale of Chernobyl Returnees

    Ukraine this week is marking the 30th anniversary of the world's worst nuclear accident, at the Chernobyl nuclear power plant. Soviet officials at first said little about the accident, but later evacuated a 2,600-square-kilometer "exclusion zone." Some people, though, came back. American directors Holly Morris and Anne Bogart created a documentary about this faithful and brave community. VOA's Tetiana Kharchenko reports from New York on "The Babushkas of Chernobyl." Carol Pearson narrates.
    Video

    Video Nigerians Feel Bite of Buhari Economic Policy

    Despite the global drop in the price of oil, Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari has refused to allow the country's currency to devalue, leading to a shortage of foreign exchange. Chris Stein reports from Lagos businessmen and consumers are feeling the impact as the country deals with a severe fuel shortage.
    Video

    Video  Return to the Wild

    There’s a growing trend in the United States to let old or underused golf courses revert back to nature. But as Erika Celeste reports from one parcel in Grafton, Ohio, converting 39 hectares of land back to green space is a lot more complicated than just not mowing the fairway.
    Video

    Video West Urges Unity in Libya as Migrant Numbers Soar

    The Italian government says a NATO-led mission aimed at stemming the flow of migrants from Libya to Europe could be up and running by July. There are concerns that the number of migrants could soar as the route through Greece and the Balkans remains blocked. Western powers say the political chaos in Libya is being exploited by people smugglers — and they are pressuring rival groups to come together under the new unity government. VOA's Henry Ridgwell reports.
    Video

    Video Russia’s TV Rain Swims Against Tide in Sea of Kremlin Propaganda

    Russia’s media freedoms have been gradually eroded under President Vladimir Putin as his government has increased state ownership, influence, and restrictions on critical reporting. Television, where most Russians get their news, has been the main target and is now almost completely state controlled. But in the Russian capital, TV Rain stands out as an island in a sea of Kremlin propaganda.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora