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 Somali, AU Forces Face Resurgent Al-Shabab

    Somalia’s Western backers frustrated over country’s slow progress in establishing its armed forces to bring security after 25 years of chaos

    Israel Makes Push for Gaza Strip Recovery

    After years of economic blockade and attempts to disable Hamas, Israeli leaders eventually realized that Hamas’ downfall could lead to chaos or the rise of a more radical Jihadist group

    Slump in Chinese Tourists Hitting Hong Kong Retail

    Mainland Chinese account for up to three-quarters of visitors to Hong Kong, but that number is falling, and shopping centers are struggling to 'shift gears' and maintain sales

    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.
    Somali, African Union Forces Face Resurgent Al-Shababi
    X
    Henry Ridgwell
    April 28, 2016 4:20 PM
    The Islamic State terror group claimed its first attack in Somalia earlier this week, though the claim has not been verified by forces on the ground. Meanwhile, al-Shabab militants have stepped up their attacks as Somalia prepares for elections later this year. Henry Ridgwell reports there are growing frustrations among Somalia’s Western backers over the country’s slow progress in forming its own armed forces to establish security after 25 years of chaos.
    Video

    Video Somali, African Union Forces Face Resurgent Al-Shabab

    The Islamic State terror group claimed its first attack in Somalia earlier this week, though the claim has not been verified by forces on the ground. Meanwhile, al-Shabab militants have stepped up their attacks as Somalia prepares for elections later this year. Henry Ridgwell reports there are growing frustrations among Somalia’s Western backers over the country’s slow progress in forming its own armed forces to establish security after 25 years of chaos.
    Video

    Video Bangladesh Targeted Killings Spark Wave of Fear

    People in Bangladesh’s capital are expressing deep concern over the brutal attacks that have killed secular blogger, and most recently a gay rights activist and an employee of the U.S. embassy. Xulhaz Mannan, an embassy protocol officer and the editor of the country’s only gay and transgender magazine Roopban; and his friend Mehboob Rabbi Tanoy, a gay rights activist, were hacked to death by five attackers in Mannan’s Dhaka home earlier this month.
    Video

    Video Documentary Tells Tale of Chernobyl Returnees

    Ukraine this week is marking the 30th anniversary of the world's worst nuclear accident, at the Chernobyl nuclear power plant. Soviet officials at first said little about the accident, but later evacuated a 2,600-square-kilometer "exclusion zone." Some people, though, came back. American directors Holly Morris and Anne Bogart created a documentary about this faithful and brave community. VOA's Tetiana Kharchenko reports from New York on "The Babushkas of Chernobyl." Carol Pearson narrates.
    Video

    Video Nigerians Feel Bite of Buhari Economic Policy

    Despite the global drop in the price of oil, Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari has refused to allow the country's currency to devalue, leading to a shortage of foreign exchange. Chris Stein reports from Lagos businessmen and consumers are feeling the impact as the country deals with a severe fuel shortage.
    Video

    Video  Return to the Wild

    There’s a growing trend in the United States to let old or underused golf courses revert back to nature. But as Erika Celeste reports from one parcel in Grafton, Ohio, converting 39 hectares of land back to green space is a lot more complicated than just not mowing the fairway.
    Video

    Video West Urges Unity in Libya as Migrant Numbers Soar

    The Italian government says a NATO-led mission aimed at stemming the flow of migrants from Libya to Europe could be up and running by July. There are concerns that the number of migrants could soar as the route through Greece and the Balkans remains blocked. Western powers say the political chaos in Libya is being exploited by people smugglers — and they are pressuring rival groups to come together under the new unity government. VOA's Henry Ridgwell reports.
    Video

    Video Russia’s TV Rain Swims Against Tide in Sea of Kremlin Propaganda

    Russia’s media freedoms have been gradually eroded under President Vladimir Putin as his government has increased state ownership, influence, and restrictions on critical reporting. Television, where most Russians get their news, has been the main target and is now almost completely state controlled. But in the Russian capital, TV Rain stands out as an island in a sea of Kremlin propaganda.
    Video

    Video Kurdish Town Receives Refugees but Lacks Resources

    A wave of refugees is pouring into the Kurdish town of Afrin in northern Syria as a result of fighting between rebel forces and Islamic State militants. VOA’s Amina Misto went to the town and reports local authorities are finding it difficult to cope with this influx of internally displaced people. Bronwyn Benito narrates her report.
    Video

    Video Scientists Build Human Tissue on Animal Matrix

    The question has always been, if a gecko can grow back its tail, why can't we regenerate our lost body parts? Well, maybe we can, someday. Scientists are moving towards the ability to rebuild fully functioning organs, and have made significant progress replacing muscles and other tissue.
    Video

    Video Containing Chernobyl Radiation Continues 30 Years After Explosion

    April 26 marks the 30th anniversary of the Chernobyl nuclear disaster. Hundreds were killed following the explosion and it's estimated that thousands more have died from cancers caused by the radiation. Henry Ridgwell traveled to Chernobyl and reports for VOA on the continuing efforts to decommission the site -- and on the fledgling plans for a new future in the vast exclusion zone.
    Video

    Video Frustration Builds Among Refugees Trapped at Macedonian Border

    On the Greek border with Macedonia, 12,000 refugees continue to wait. Since the route to the rest of Europe was closed last month, the makeshift camp at Idomeni has seen protests and tear gas. But while those here wait, their frustration grows — as do reports of people attempting to find new ways of continuing their journey. John Owens reports from Idomeni.
    Video

    Video Researchers: Bees Help Kenyan Farmers Fend Off Elephants

    Elephant crop-raiding continues to be a major source of human-wildlife conflict in Kenya, so one elephant researcher is helping to alleviate the problem near Tsavo East National Park with beehive fences, which use elephants’ natural aversion to bees to deter them from farms. VOA’s Jill Craig visited the area ahead of this month's Giants Club Summit, which will bring together dignitaries at Mount Kenya to find solutions to combat poaching, the No. 1 threat to elephants.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora