News / Asia

US, South Korea to Increase Defense Posture Against North Korea

Rep. of Korea Minister of National Defense Kim Kwan-jin and U.S. Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta at the Ministry of National Defense, October 28, 2011.
Rep. of Korea Minister of National Defense Kim Kwan-jin and U.S. Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta at the Ministry of National Defense, October 28, 2011.

The U.S. and South Korea have pledged to "advance combat readiness capabilities" near the disputed sea border with North Korea, warning against any future aggression by Pyongyang.  The warning came as defense leaders of the two military allies met for their annual security consultative meeting. 

Speaking at a news conference in Seoul Friday, U.S. Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta and his South Korean counterpart, Kim Kwan-jin, said provocations by North Korea similar to a pair of deadly attacks last year will not be tolerated.

The two defense chiefs announced a joint commitment to "advance combat readiness capabilities" in and around the tense, disputed maritime border off the west coast of the Korean peninsula.

Panetta pledged the United States will sustain and enhance its military presence on the peninsula and in the Asian region despite the threat of deep cutbacks in the U.S. military budget.  

"Together we will ensure a strong and effective alliance deterrence posture, including the United States' nuclear umbrella, so that Pyongyang never misjudges our will and our capability to respond decisively to nuclear aggression," he said.

Tensions have been high on the Korean Peninsula since the deadly sinking of a South Korean warship that Seoul blamed on Pyongyang, followed by North Korea's artillery attack on a South Korean border island that killed four people.  

The North has denied any responsibility in the sinking of the warship.  But Pyongyang has defended its shelling of Yeonpyeong island last November, saying it was in response to a South Korean provocation during a military exercise there.  

South Korean Defense Minister Kim calls the possibility of fresh provocations next year by North Korea "very high."

Kim says if there is such an incident, South Korea would initially respond with its own forces and then, if an expanded counter-attack is needed, additional assets of the U.S. military would be included.

The United States maintains more than 28,000 military personnel in South Korea.

Diplomats from the United States and North Korea this week held a rare second round of direct talks in Geneva. The discussions are intended to explore resuming six-nation talks on Pyongyang's nuclear programs.

The talks - involving both Koreas, the United States, China, Russia and Japan - have not been held for nearly three years. North Korea in 2009 announced it was quitting the talks. Subsequently it exploded a second nuclear device and test-launched additional advanced missiles.

U.S. Defense Secretary Panetta expressed doubts that talks between Washington and Pyongyang will convince North Korea to abandon its nuclear weapons programs.

Panetta and Kim on Friday expressed additional concern about North Korea's revelation last year that it now also has a uranium enrichment program.  They called the program a "grave threat," saying it gives Pyongyang a second path to making nuclear weapons.

They urged North Korea to "demonstrate its genuine will toward denuclearization through concrete actions." Both Washington and Seoul have repeatedly said abandoning nuclear weapons is a pre-requisite for resuming the six-nation talks.  Pyongyang has said there should be no pre-conditions.

You May Like

Video Drug Use Rises in Afghanistan

Ninety percent of world’s heroin comes from Afghanistan More

Here's Your Chance to Live in a Deserted Shopping Mall

About one-third of the 1200 enclosed malls in the US are dead or dying. Here's what's being done with them. More

Video NASA: Big Antarctica Ice Shelf Is Disintegrating

US space agency’s new study indicates Larsen B shelf could break up in just a few years 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.
Turkey's Main Opposition Party Hopes for Election Breakthroughi
X
May 22, 2015 10:23 AM
Turkey’s main opposition Republican People’s Party has sought an image change ahead of the June 7 general election. The move comes after suffering successive defeats at the hands of the Islamist-rooted AK Party, which has portrayed it as hostile to religion. Dorian Jones reports from the western city of Izmir.
Video

Video Turkey's Main Opposition Party Hopes for Election Breakthrough

Turkey’s main opposition Republican People’s Party has sought an image change ahead of the June 7 general election. The move comes after suffering successive defeats at the hands of the Islamist-rooted AK Party, which has portrayed it as hostile to religion. Dorian Jones reports from the western city of Izmir.
Video

Video Europe Follows US Lead in Tackling ‘Conflict Minerals’

Metals mined from conflict zones in places like the Democratic Republic of Congo are often sold by warlords to buy weapons. This week European lawmakers voted to force manufacturers to prove that their supply chains are not inadvertently fueling conflicts and human rights abuses. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video Class Tackles Questions of Race, Discrimination

Unrest in some U.S. cities is more than just a trending news item at Ladue Middle School in St. Louis, Missouri. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, it’s a focus of a multicultural studies class engaging students in wide-ranging discussions about racial tensions and police aggression.
Video

Video Mind-Controlled Prosthetics Are Getting Closer

Scientists and engineers are making substantial advances towards the ultimate goal in prosthetics – creation of limbs that can be controlled by the wearer’s mind. Thanks to sophisticated sensors capable of picking up the brain’s signals, an amputee in Iceland is literally bringing us one step closer to that goal. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Afghan Economy Sinks As Foreign Troops Depart

As international troops prepare to leave Afghanistan, and many foreign aid groups follow, Afghans are grappling with how the exodus will affect the country's fragile economy. Ayesha Tanzeem reports from the Afghan capital, Kabul.
Video

Video Poverty, Ignorance Force Underage Girls Into Marriage

The recent marriage of a 17-year old Chechen girl to a local police chief who was 30 years older and already had a wife caused an outcry in Russia and beyond. The bride was reportedly forced to marry and her parents were intimidated into giving their consent. The union spotlighted yet again the plight of many underage girls in developing countries. Zlatica Hoke reports poverty, ignorance and fear are behind the practice, especially in Asia and Africa.
Video

Video South Korea Marks Gwangju Uprising Anniversary

South Korea this week marked the 35th anniversary of a protest that turned deadly. The Gwangju Uprising is credited with starting the country’s democratic revolution after it was violently quelled by South Korea’s former military rulers. But as Jason Strother reports, some observers worry that democracy has recently been eroded.
Video

Video California’s Water System Not Created To Handle Current Drought

The drought in California is moving into its fourth year. While the state's governor is mandating a reduction in urban water use, most of the water used in California is for agriculture. But both city dwellers and farmers are feeling the impact of the drought. Some experts say the state’s water system was not created to handle long periods of drought. Elizabeth Lee reports from Ventura County, an agricultural region just northwest of Los Angeles.
Video

Video How to Clone a Mammoth: The Science of De-Extinction

An international team of scientists has sequenced the complete genome of the woolly mammoth. Led by the Swedish Museum of Natural History in Stockholm, the work opens the door to recreate the huge herbivore, which last roamed the Earth 4,000 years ago. VOA’s Rosanne Skirble considers the science of de-extinction and its place on the planet
Video

Video Blind Boy Defines His Life with Music

Cole Moran was born blind. He also has cognitive delays and other birth defects. He has to learn everything by ear. Nevertheless, the 12-year-old has had an insatiable love for music since he was born. VOA’s June Soh introduces us to the young phenomenal harmonica player.

VOA Blogs