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

VOA Exclusive: Interview With Myanmar President Thein Sein

Thein Sein calls allegations that minority Muslim Rohingya are fleeing alleged torture in Rakhine state a media fabrication More

New Yellow Fever Research May Lead to Improved Treatment

Researchers identify features of disease that may lead to more effective treatment More

UN Rights Commission Investigates Eritrea

Three-member commission will start collecting first-hand information from victims and other witnesses in Switzerland and Italy next week 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.
Ebola Economic Toll Stirs W. Africa Food Security Concernsi
X
November 19, 2014 11:39 PM
The World Bank said Wednesday that it expects the economic impact of the Ebola outbreak on the sub-Saharan economy to cost somewhere betweenf $3 billion to $4 billion - well below a previously-outlined worst-case scenario of $32 billion. Some economists, however, paint a gloomier picture - warning that the disruption to regional markets and trading is considerable. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video Ebola Economic Toll Stirs W. Africa Food Security Concerns

The World Bank said Wednesday that it expects the economic impact of the Ebola outbreak on the sub-Saharan economy to cost somewhere betweenf $3 billion to $4 billion - well below a previously-outlined worst-case scenario of $32 billion. Some economists, however, paint a gloomier picture - warning that the disruption to regional markets and trading is considerable. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video Mexico Protests Escalate Over Disappearances

Protests in Mexico over 43 students missing since September continue to escalate, reflecting growing anger among Mexicans about a political system they view as corrupt, and increasingly tainted by the drug trade. Mounting outrage over the disappearances is now focused on the government of President Enrique Pena Nieto, accused of not doing enough to end insecurity in the country. More from VOA's Victoria Macchi.
Video

Video US Senate Votes Down Controversial Oil Pipeline - For Now

The U.S. Senate has rejected construction of a controversial pipeline to transport Canadian oil to American refineries. The $5 billion project still could be approved next year, but it faces a possible veto by President Barack Obama. As VOA’s Michael Bowman reports, the pipeline has exposed deep divisions in Congress about America’s energy future.
Video

Video Can Minsk Cease-fire Agreement Hold?

Growing tensions between government troops and separatists in eastern Ukraine further threaten a cease-fire agreement reached two months ago in the Belarusian capital of Minsk. Critics of U.S. policy in Ukraine say it is time the Obama administration gives up on that much-violated cease-fire and moves toward a new deal with Russia. VOA's Scott Stearns has more.
Video

Video Chaos, Abuse Defy Solution in Libya

The political and security crisis in Libya is deepening, with competing governments and, according to Amnesty International, widespread human rights violations committed with impunity. VOA’s Al Pessin reports from London.
Video

Video US Hosts Record 866,000 Foreign Students

Close to 900,000 international students are studying at American universities and colleges, more than ever before. About half of them come from Asia, mostly China. The United States hosts more foreign students than any other country in the world, and its foreign student population is steadily growing. Zlatica Hoke reports.
Video

Video Ferguson Church Grapples with Race Relations

Many white residents of Ferguson, Missouri, say they chose to live there because of the American Midwest community's diversity. So, they were shocked when a white police officer killed an unarmed black teenager in August – and shaken by the resulting protests and violence. Some local churches are leading conversations on how to go forward. VOA’s Ayesha Tanzeem reports.
Video

Video What Jon Stewart Learned About Iran From 'Rosewater'

Jon Stewart, host of the satirical news program "The Daily Show" talks with Saman Arbabi of Voice of America's Persian service about Stewart's directorial debut, "Rosewater."
Video

Video Lebanese Winemakers Thrive Despite War Next Door

In some of the most volatile parts of Lebanon, where a constant flow of refugees crosses the border from Syria, one industry continues to flourish against the odds. Lebanese winemakers say after surviving a brutal civil war in the 1970s and 80s, they can survive anything. Heather Murdock has more for VOA from the Bekaa Valley in Lebanon.
Video

Video China's Rise Closely Watched

China’s role as APEC host this week allowed a rare opportunity for Beijing to showcase its vision for the global economy and the region. But as China’s stature grows, so have tensions with other countries, including the United States. VOA’s Bill Ide in Beijing reports on how China’s rise as a global power is seen among Chinese and Americans.

All About America

AppleAndroid