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

Video Experts Warn World Losing Ebola Fight

Doctors Without Borders says world is losing battle against Ebola, unless wealthy nations dispatch specialized biological disaster response teams More

Video Experts: Rise of Islamic State Significant Development in Jihadism

Many analysts contend the group - which grew out of al-Qaida in Iraq - has been rebuilding for years More

US-Based Hong Kongers Pledge Support for Pro-Democracy Activists

Democracy advocates call on Chinese living abroad to join them in opposing new election rules for their home territory 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.
Larger Than Life Chinese Lanterns Make Southern California Appearancei
X
Elizabeth Lee
September 02, 2014 8:57 PM
Chinese lanterns with a long history are lighting up in 21st century style at the Los Angeles County Fair in southern California. Visitors can see traditional lanterns that hang, but also lanterns in the shape of animals, iconic landmarks and many other objects, all created by artisans from a place in China known for its lanterns. Elizabeth Lee has the details from the fair in the city of Pomona.
Video

Video Larger Than Life Chinese Lanterns Make Southern California Appearance

Chinese lanterns with a long history are lighting up in 21st century style at the Los Angeles County Fair in southern California. Visitors can see traditional lanterns that hang, but also lanterns in the shape of animals, iconic landmarks and many other objects, all created by artisans from a place in China known for its lanterns. Elizabeth Lee has the details from the fair in the city of Pomona.
Video

Video Experts See Rise of ISIS as Significant Development

The Islamic State’s rise seems sudden. It caught the U.S. by surprise this summer when it captured large portions of northern Iraq and spread its wings in neighboring Syria. But many analysts contend that the group - which grew out of al-Qaida in Iraq - has been rebuilding for years. VOA's Jela de Franceschi takes a closer look at the rise of ISIS and its implications for the Middle East and beyond.
Video

Video Israel Concerned Over Syrian Rebels in Golan

Israeli officials are following with concern the recent fighting between Syrian rebels and government forces near the contested Golan Heights. Forty-four U.N. peacekeepers from Fiji have been seized by Syrian Islamist rebels and the clashes occasionally have spilled into Israel. VOA’s Scott Bobb reports from Jerusalem.
Video

Video Ukraine Schools Resume Classes, Donate to Government Forces

A new school year has started in Ukraine but thousands of children in the war-torn east are unable to attend because of ongoing clashes with pro-Russia rebels. In Ukraine's capital, patriotic education has become the norm along with donations to support injured security forces fighting to take back rebel-held areas. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports from Kyiv.
Video

Video US Detainees Want Negotiators for Freedom in North Korea

The three U.S. detainees held in North Korea were permitted to speak with foreign media Monday. The government of Kim Jong Un restricted the topics of the questions, and the interviews in Pyongyang were limited to five minutes. Each of the men asked Washington to send a representative to Pyongyang to secure his release. VOA’s Carolyn Presutti has our story.
Video

Video Turkmen From Amerli Describe Survival of IS Siege

Over the past few weeks, hundreds of Shi'ite Turkmen have fled the town of Amerli seeking refuge in the northern city of Kirkuk. Despite recent military gains after U.S. airstrikes that were coordinated with Iraqi and Kurdish forces, the situation remains dire for Amerli’s residents. Sebastian Meyer went to Kirkuk for VOA to speak to those who managed to escape.
Video

Video West Africa Ebola Vaccine Trials Possible by Early 2015

A U.S. health agency is speeding up clinical trials of a possible vaccine against the deadly Ebola virus that so far has killed more than 1,500 people in West Africa. If successful, the next step would be a larger trial in countries where the outbreak is occurring. VOA's Carol Pearson has more.
Video

Video Survivors Commemorate 70th Anniversary of Nazi Liquidation of Jewish Ghetto

When the German Nazi army occupied the Polish city of Lodz in 1939, it marked the beginning of a long nightmare for the Jewish community that once made up one third of the population. Roughly 200,000 people were forced into the Lodz Ghetto. Less than 7,000 survived. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, some survivors gathered at the Union League Club in Chicago on the 70th anniversary of the liquidation of the Lodz Ghetto to remember those who suffered at the hands of the Nazi regime.

AppleAndroid