News / USA

    South Korea, Japan, US Hold Military Drills

    South Korean and U.S. army, gray, soldiers cheer after a live fire drill during the annual Foal Eagle maneuvers near Rodriguez Range in Pocheon, south of the demilitarized zone that divides the two Koreas, South Korea, March 15, 2012.
    South Korean and U.S. army, gray, soldiers cheer after a live fire drill during the annual Foal Eagle maneuvers near Rodriguez Range in Pocheon, south of the demilitarized zone that divides the two Koreas, South Korea, March 15, 2012.
    SEOUL - South Korea is participating in several military exercises, some overlapping and involving other countries including the United States and Japan.

    U.S. and Japanese naval forces have joined their counterparts from South Korea for a two-day exercise in international waters south of Jeju island.

    North Korea's ruling party newspaper Rodong Sinmun says the three-nation drill threatens to bring a “new cloud of war” to Northeast Asia.

    The U.S. and South Korean navies are to continue with what is described as a “routine carrier operation" in the Yellow Sea, west of the Korean peninsula, Saturday through Monday.  The USS George Washington carrier striker group is joining both exercises.

    On land, South Korean and American soldiers are to conduct one of their biggest ever joint single-day drills Friday.

    It will involve 2,000 troops, fighter jets and other aircraft, including attack helicopters, as well as tanks and rocket launchers firing thousands of rounds.

    It is to take place at Pocheon, about 60 kilometers south of the demilitarized zone.

    North Korea has lashed out, with typical rhetoric, characterizing this as "clamor for the invasion of the North that makes the situation worse."

    South Korea's defense ministry responded to the charge.

    Ministry spokesman Kim Min-seok tells reporters, although North Korea claims it as a provocation, no military can improve its capabilities without conducting training. He says it is akin to test-takers practicing with various questions. Kim calls North Korea's provocation assertion "totally illogical."

    Senior researcher Baek Seung-joo at the Korea Institute for Defense Analyses says North Korea is issuing criticism for internal consumption.

    Baek says, rather than actually feeling threatened, Pyongyang realizes the exercises in the South are for defensive purposes, but issues criticism to promote solidarity among North Korean citizens by emphasizing a sense of crisis.

    Additionally, early next month, South Korea will participate in a Japan-based interdiction exercise which will include Australian and Singaporean airmen.

    Officials say the drill, based at Chitose Air Base, in Hokkaido, will simulate a plane carrying radioactive substances flying into Japanese air space. The four air forces are to work together to carry out a mock forced landing of the aircraft and to inspect its cargo.

    The exercise is part of the U.S.-led Proliferation Security Initiative, intended to halt trafficking of weapons of mass destruction.

    Analyst Baek at the Korea Institute for Defense Analyses says these exercises have been in the works for a long time and come in response to increased provocations by the North, beginning in 2010.

    Baek says the drills send a message that both South Korea and the United States are strongly determined to jointly respond to further North Korean provocations and demonstrate what Pyongyang could face.

    Some analysts note one reason for the various drills now is that June has been traditionally a month when North Korea carries out military provocations. They also note the recent warnings emanating from Pyongyang about a "special action" against Seoul and specific warnings to attack the headquarters of particular conservative newspapers and broadcasters deemed to have offended North Korea with critical coverage.

    Steve Herman

    Steve Herman is VOA's Senior Diplomatic Correspondent, based at the State Department.

    You May Like

    Hope Remains for Rio Olympic Games, Despite Woes

    Facing a host of problems, Rio prepares for holding the games but experts say some risks, like Zika, may not be as grave as initially thought

    IS Use of Social Media to Recruit, Radicalize Still a Top Threat to US

    Despite military gains against IS in Iraq and Syria, their internet propaganda still commands an audience; US officials see 'the most complex challenge that the federal government and industry face'

    ‘Time Is Now’ to Save Africa’s Animals From Poachers, Activist Says

    During Zimbabwe visit, African Wildlife Foundation President Kaddu Sebunya says poaching hurts Africa as slave trade once did

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    Ivorian Chocolate Makers Promote Locally-made Chocolatei
    X
    July 29, 2016 4:02 PM
    Ivory Coast is the world's top producer of cocoa but hardly any of it is processed into chocolate there. Instead, the cocoa is sent abroad to chocolate makers in Europe and elsewhere. This is a general problem throughout Africa – massive exports of raw materials but few finished goods. As Emilie Iob reports from Abidjan, several Ivorian entrepreneurs are working to change that formula - 100 percent Ivorian chocolate bar at a time.
    Video

    Video Ivorian Chocolate Makers Promote Locally-made Chocolate

    Ivory Coast is the world's top producer of cocoa but hardly any of it is processed into chocolate there. Instead, the cocoa is sent abroad to chocolate makers in Europe and elsewhere. This is a general problem throughout Africa – massive exports of raw materials but few finished goods. As Emilie Iob reports from Abidjan, several Ivorian entrepreneurs are working to change that formula - 100 percent Ivorian chocolate bar at a time.
    Video

    Video Tesla Opens Battery-Producing Gigafactory

    Two years after starting to produce electric cars, U.S. car maker Tesla Motors has opened the first part of its huge battery manufacturing plant, which will eventually cover more than a square kilometer. Situated close to Reno, Nevada, the so-called Gigafactory will eventually produce more lithium-ion batteries than were made worldwide in 2013. VOA's George Putic reports.
    Video

    Video Polio-affected Afghan Student Fulfilling Her Dreams in America

    Afghanistan is one of only two countries in the world where children still get infected by polio. The other is Pakistan. Mahbooba Akhtarzada who is from Afghanistan, was disabled by polio, but has managed to overcome the obstacles caused by this crippling disease. VOA's Zheela Nasari caught up with Akhtarzada and brings us this report narrated by Bronwyn Benito.
    Video

    Video Hillary Clinton Promises to Build a 'Better Tomorrow'

    Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton urged voters Thursday not to give in to the politics of fear. She vowed to unite the country and move it forward if elected in November. Clinton formally accepted the Democratic Party's nomination at its national convention in Philadelphia. VOA national correspondent Jim Malone has more.
    Video

    Video Trump Tones Down Praise for Russia

    Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump is toning down his compliments for Russia and Vladimir Putin as such rhetoric got him in trouble recently. After calling on Russia to find 30.000 missing emails from rival Hillary Clinton, Trump told reporters he doesn't know Putin and never called him a great leader, just one who's better than President Barack Obama. Putin has welcomed Trump's overtures, but, as Zlatica Hoke reports, ordinary Russians say they are not putting much faith in Trump.
    Video

    Video Uganda Unveils its First Solar-powered Bus

    A solar-powered bus described by its Ugandan makers as the first in Africa has made its public debut. Kiira Motors' electric bus, Kayoola, displayed recently at a stadium in Uganda's capital. From Kampala, Maurice Magorane filed this report narrated by Salem Solomon.
    Video

    Video Silicon Valley: More Than A Place, It's a Culture

    Silicon Valley is a technology powerhouse and a place that companies such as Google, Facebook and Apple call home. It is a region in northern California that stretches from San Francisco to San Jose. But, more than that, it's known for its startup culture. VOA's Elizabeth Lee went inside one company to find out what it's like to work in a startup.
    Video

    Video Immigrant Delegate Marvels at Democratic Process

    It’s been a bitter and divisive election season – but first time Indian-American delegate Dr. Shashi Gupta headed to the Democratic National Convention with a sense of hope. VOA’s Katherine Gypson followed this immigrant with the love of U.S. politics all the way to Philadelphia.
    Video

    Video Dutch Entrepreneurs Turn Rainwater Into Beer

    June has been recorded as one of the wettest months in more than a century in many parts of Europe. To a group of entrepreneurs in Amsterdam the rain came as a blessing, as they used the extra water to brew beer. Serginho Roosblad has more to the story.
    Video

    Video Commerce Thrives on US-Mexico Border

    At the Democratic Convention in Philadelphia this week, the party’s presumptive presidential nominee, Hillary Clinton, is expected to attack proposals made by her opponent, Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump, to build a wall along the U.S.-Mexico border. Last Friday, President Barack Obama hosted his Mexican counterpart, President Enrique Peña Nieto, to underscore the good relations between the two countries. VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from Tucson.
    Video

    Video Film Helps Save Ethiopian Children Thought to be Cursed

    'Omo Child' looks at effort of African man to stop killings of ‘mingi’ children
    Video

    Video London’s Financial Crown at Risk as Rivals Eye Brexit Opportunities

    By most measures, London rivals New York as the only true global financial center. But Britain’s vote to leave the European Union – so-called ‘Brexit’ – means the city could lose its right to sell services tariff-free across the bloc, risking its position as Europe’s financial headquarters. Already some banks have said they may shift operations to the mainland. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora