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

African States Push to Keep Boko Haram Offline

Central African telecoms ministers working with Nigeria to block all videos posted by Boko Haram in effort to blunt Nigerian militant group's propaganda More

Falling Oil Prices, Internet-Savvy Youth Pose Challenge for Gulf Monarchies

Across the Gulf, younger generations are putting a strain on traditional politics More

Philippines Call Center Workers Face Challenges

Country has world’s largest business process outsourcing, or BPO, industry, employing some one-million workers 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.
US Supreme Court Hears Hijab Discrimination Casei
X
Katherine Gypson
February 25, 2015 11:30 PM
The U.S. Supreme Court has heard opening arguments in a workplace religious discrimination case that examines whether a clothing store can refuse to hire a young woman for wearing the headscarf she says is a symbol of her Muslim faith. Katherine Gypson reports from the Supreme Court.
Video

Video US Supreme Court Hears Hijab Discrimination Case

The U.S. Supreme Court has heard opening arguments in a workplace religious discrimination case that examines whether a clothing store can refuse to hire a young woman for wearing the headscarf she says is a symbol of her Muslim faith. Katherine Gypson reports from the Supreme Court.
Video

Video Falling Gas Prices Hurt Nascent Illinois Hydraulic Fracturing Industry

Falling oil prices are helping consumers purchase cheaper petroleum at the pump. But that’s made hydraulic fracturing or “fracking” less economically viable for the companies in the United States invested in the process. VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports on one Midwestern town that was hoping to change its fortunes by cashing in on the next big U.S. oil boom.
Video

Video Fighting in Sudan's South Kordofan Fuels Mass Displacement

Heavy fighting in Sudan's South Kordofan state is causing hundreds of thousands to flee into uncertain conditions. Local aid organizations estimate as many as 400,000 civilians have been internally displaced since the conflict began more than three years ago, while another 250,000 have fled across the border to refugee camps in South Sudan. VOA's Adam Bailes reports.
Video

Video Lao Dam Project Runs Into Opposition

A Lao dam project on a section of the Mekong River is drawing opposition from local fishermen, international environmental groups and neighboring countries. VOA's Say Mony visited the region to investigate the concerns. Colin Lovett narrates.
Video

Video A Filmmaker Discovers Her Biracial Identity in "Little White Lie

Lacey Schwartz grew up in an upper middle-class Jewish family, in a town in upstate New York where almost everyone she knew was white. She assumed that she was, as well. Her recent documentary, Little White Lie, tells the story of how she uncovered the secret of her true racial background. VOA’s Carolyn Weaver has more on the film.
Video

Video Deep Under Antarctic Ice Sheet, Life!

With the end of summer in the Southern hemisphere, the Antarctic research season is over. Scientists from Northern Illinois University are back in their laboratory after a 3-month expedition on the Ross Ice Shelf, the world’s largest floating ice sheet. As VOA’s Rosanne Skirble reports, they hope to find clues to explain the dynamics of the rapidly melting ice and its impact on sea level rise.
Video

Video US-Cuba Normalization Talks Resume Friday

Negotiations aimed at normalizing diplomatic relations between the U.S. and Cuba resume Friday. On the table: lifting a half-century trade embargo and easing banking and travel restrictions. There's opposition in Congress, but some analysts say there may be sufficient political and economic incentives in both nations for a potential breakthrough this year. VOA's Mil Arcega reports.
Video

Video Pakistan's Deadline For SIM Registration Has Cellphone Users Scrambling

Pakistani cell phone users have until midnight Thursday to register their SIM cards, or their service will be cut off. While some privacy experts worry about government intrusion, many Pakistanis are just worried about keeping their phone lines open. VOA Deewa reporter Arshad Muhmand has more from Peshawar.
Video

Video Myanmar Warns Factory Workers to End Strikes

Outside Myanmar's main city Yangon, thousands of workers walked off their jobs earlier this month demanding a doubling of their wages, pay raises after a year and input from labor unions on industrial regulations. Since Friday, the standoff has grown more tense as police moved in to disrupt the sit-ins, resulting in clashes that injured people from both sides. VOA correspondent Steve Herman visited industrial zones which have become a focus of Myanmar's fledgling workers rights movement.
Video

Video Oscar Winners Do More Than Thank the Academy

The Academy Awards presentation is Hollywood’s night to reward the best movies from the previous year. It’s typically a lot of glitter, a lot of thank you’s, a lot of speeches. But many of this year’s speeches carried messages beyond the thank you's. VOA’s Carolyn Presutti takes a look.

All About America

Circumventing Censorship

An Internet Primer for Healthy Web Habits

As surveillance and censoring technologies advance, so, too, do new tools for your computer or mobile device that help protect your privacy and break through Internet censorship.
More