News / Asia

US, South Korean Naval Exercises Postponed

The United States says planned naval exercises with South Korea have been delayed at least until after next week's bi-lateral ministerial meeting in Seoul.

Pentagon Spokesman Bryan Whitman says there will be no announcement about specific plans for two expected naval exercises until after the American secretaries of state and defense attend the annual meeting with their South Korean counterparts next Wednesday. "The exercises will be discussed at the upcoming 'two-plus-two,' which we've already announced yesterday; so I wouldn't expect for us to have anything on that this week," he said.

Whitman announced the exercises seven weeks ago, and said they would likely take place in late June or early July.  One exercise is aimed at improving the U.S. and South Korean joint ability to detect and repel submarines.  The other is to be focused on dealing with threats from surface ships.

Whitman said the exercises were planned in response to an international investigation, which concluded that North Korea had sunk a South Korean navy ship in March, killing 46 sailors.  North Korea denies the charge.

Since the exercises were announced, a series of developments has delayed the plan.  South Korea asked the United Nations Security Council to condemn North Korea for the attack.  U.S. Defense Secretary Robert Gates said that Washington and Seoul wanted to see what happened at the U.N. before proceeding.  The Council adopted a presidential statement late last week, rather than a formal resolution, and it condemned the sinking but did not blame North Korea directly.  Pyongyang called the move a diplomatic victory, and asked to resume talks at Panmunjom in the Demilitarized Zone.  The North then postponed the talks, which had been scheduled for Tuesday, citing administrative problems.

At the same time, China has expressed concern about the planned exercises, particularly if they are held in the Yellow Sea, between the Korean Peninsula and the Chinese mainland, as had been expected.  China has been conducting a naval exercise in the Yellow Sea in recent days.  A spokesman in Beijing said Tuesday that U.S.-South Korean exercises in the area would threaten key Chinese interests including its sovereignty, security, territorial integrity and economic development.  

In addition, the official Xinhua News Agency said Tuesday the military plan "is gradually drawing widespread public ire in China," and called for "restraint" and "calm," rather than what it called "drastic moves."

The Pentagon spokesman, Bryan Whitman, could not say Tuesday where the exercises might be held, or why the plan now needs to be discussed at the ministerial level.  But he said there is no intent to cause Chinese concern. "The exercises that we have been doing for any number of years with the Republic of Korea are designed to add to the stability and security of that region, and particularly the peninsula," he said.

The exercises were announced after U.S. Secretary of State Hilary Clinton said during a visit to Beijing that President Barack Obama had ordered military commanders to increase their already close cooperation with South Korea.  She said the goals were, in her words, "to ensure readiness and to deter future aggression."  And the secretary of state said the United States and South Korea would "explore further enhancements" to their joint posture on the peninsula."

The United States has nearly 30,000 troops stationed in South Korea and would command a joint force in case of any attack on the country.  The date to shift wartime command to South Korea was pushed back three-and-a-half years, to December of 2015, after the recent ship sinking.

You May Like

EU Court Fines Poland for Hosting CIA 'Black Sites'

Ruling is first time a court has acknowledged suspects were held and tortured at the sites, under US program launched following the 9/11 terrorist attacks More

Migrant Issues Close to Home Spur Groups to Take Action

Groups placing water, food in the desert, or aiding detainees after release, have one common goal: no more deaths of migrants crossing illegally into the US More

Video At AIDS Conference, Prevention Pill Stirs Excitement

Truveda shows promise, spurring debate over access and other approaches 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.
Israel Targets Gaza Supply Tunnelsi
X
July 24, 2014 4:42 AM
The Israeli military has launched a ground operation in Gaza to destroy the myriad tunnels that may have been used to smuggle weapons to Hamas. VOA's Zlatica Hoke reports that could mean more hardship for the people of Gaza, who obtain some of their essential supplies through these underground passages
Video

Video Israel Targets Gaza Supply Tunnels

The Israeli military has launched a ground operation in Gaza to destroy the myriad tunnels that may have been used to smuggle weapons to Hamas. VOA's Zlatica Hoke reports that could mean more hardship for the people of Gaza, who obtain some of their essential supplies through these underground passages
Video

Video MH17's 'Black Boxes' Could Reveal Crash Details

The government of Malaysia now has custody of the cockpit voice and flight data recorders from Malaysia Airlines Flight 17, which was hit by a missile over Ukraine before crashing last week. As VOA's Carolyn Presutti reports, the so-called black boxes may hold information about the final minutes of the flight.
Video

Video Living in the Shadows Panel Discussion

Following a screening of the new VOA documentary, "AIDS - Living in the Shadows," at the World AIDS conference in Melbourne, a panel discussed the film and how to combat the stigma associated with HIV/AIDS.
Video

Video IAEA: Iran Turns its Enriched Uranium Into Less Harmful Form

Iran has converted its stockpiles of enriched uranium into a less dangerous form that is more difficult to use for nuclear weapons, according to the United Nations’ Atomic Energy Agency. The move complies with an interim deal reached with Western powers on Iran's nuclear program last year, in exchange for easing of sanctions. Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London.
Video

Video Relic of Saint Draws Catholics Worried About Immigration Issue

A Roman Catholic saint who is a figure of devotion for those crossing the border into the United States is attracting believers concerned about the plight of undocumented immigrants. Mike O'Sullivan reports from Los Angeles, where a relic of Saint Toribio has drawn thousands to local churches.
Video

Video US Awards Medal of Honor for Heroics in Bloodiest of Afghan Battles

U.S. combat troops are withdrawing from Afghanistan, on pace to leave the country by the end of this year. But on Monday, U.S. President Barack Obama took time to honor a soldier whose actions while under fire in Afghanistan earned him the Medal of Honor. VOA's Jeff Seldin has more from the Pentagon.
Video

Video Ukraine Rebels Surrender MH17 Black Boxes

After days of negotiations, a senior separatist leader handed over two black boxes from an airliner downed over eastern Ukraine to Malaysian experts early Tuesday. While on Monday, the U.N. Security Council unanimously demanded that armed groups controlling the crash site allow safe and unrestricted access to the wreckage.
Video

Video In Cambodia, HIV Diagnosis Brings Deadly Shame

Although HIV/AIDS is now a treatable condition, a positive diagnosis is still a life altering experience. In Cambodia, people living with HIV are often disowned by friends, family and the community. This humiliation can be unbearable. We bring you one Cambodian woman’s struggle to overcome a life tragedy and her own HIV positive diagnosis.

AppleAndroid