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Posts Tagged ‘Korea’

South Korea In A Corner, No Trustworthy Allie

Posted by Larry Barnes on May 21, 2010

Hillary Clinton: “The evidence is overwhelming and condemning”, and I am sure that international consequences over the sinking of a Southern warship in March will be swift boated by the Obama machine.

She said on a visit to Tokyo that, despite Pyongyang’s denials, evidence the North had torpedoed the ship was “overwhelming”.

South Korea’s president said the response to the sinking must be “very prudent”. On doubt that the lack of an allie will ensure that it is, and futile too boot.

He also firmly blamed North Korea when he addressed his security council.

It was a “surprise military attack from North Korea [that came] while South Korean people were resting late at night”, President Lee Myung-bak said.

Foreign investigators said in a report that a torpedo had hit the ship, killing 46 people.

Experts from the US, the UK, Australia and Sweden found that parts of the torpedo retrieved from the sea floor had lettering that matched a North Korean design.

Mrs Clinton has called on North Korea to “stop its provocative behavior” and her forceful personality will be instrumental in deterring homicidal maniacs. Mrs Clinton said it could not be business as usual with North Korea, I am confident new sanctions will plunge the North Korean people into extended suffering.

Action at the UN is most likely to be blunted by the Chinese government that holds economic daggers to the heart of the west.

A senior US official told me it is clear that South Korea does not wish to go to war and will not take steps that run that risk.

He added there is also no evidence that North Korea is preparing to go to war despite all the rhetoric.

The BBC has been able to contribute to the forgive and forget tendency by portraying the action as a “a one-off action”, without regard to a long history of North Korean aggression. The BBC has shown it not qualified to comment on world affairs with the assertion that “North Korea’s motivations are still unclear”.

Secretary Clinton has revealed the Obama plan by stating “This will not be and cannot be business as usual. There must be an international, not just a regional, but an international response.” This of course means that the international community will be to blame when no action is taken.

South Korea’s president’s plan of action to include taking the evidence of an attack to the UN Security Council in an attempt to win support for tougher sanctions on North Korea, proves he is aware of the corner he is in.

President Lee told his security council the sinking of the Cheonan on 26 March had violated the UN Charter and the 1953 armistice which effectively ended the Korean War as have many other actions taken by the North. But, let us ignore history. “Since this case is very serious and has a grave importance, we cannot afford to have a slightest mistake and will be very prudent in all response measures we take,” he said.

South Korean Defence Minister Kim Tae-young told reporters at a separate briefing that the North would be “made to pay”.

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Obama Throws South Korea Under The Bus

Posted by Larry Barnes on May 20, 2010

South Korea Must Determine Attack Response, Gates Says

By Lisa Daniel
American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, May 20, 2010 – It is up to South Korea, not the United States, to determine how it will deal with a North Korean attack on one of its ships, Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates said today.

Gates was asked by reporters at a Pentagon news conference whether a recent determination that North Korea sank the South Korean frigate Cheonan, killing 46 sailors on March 26, was an act of war.

“This was an attack on South Korea, and South Korea needs to be in the lead on the way forward,” he said.

Gates said the Defense Department supports the findings of a multilateral investigation into the attack that found a North Korean submarine fired a torpedo that sank the ship. “They’ve laid out some paths forward, and we will be consulting closely with them as they move forward.”

The military has not changed its normal readiness status in light of the findings, Navy Adm. Mike Mullen, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, said at the news conference. Mullen said he spoke with his South Korean counterpart yesterday, as well as with Navy Adm. Robert Willard, commander of U.S. Pacific Command, and Army Gen. Walter “Skip” Sharp, commander of U.S. Forces Korea.

“We’re all focused on the stability of that region,” Mullen said. “Certainly, we’re concerned. They are a great friend and a great ally.”

Asked if U.S. forces are stretched too thin to increase operations in the area if needed, Gates said “absolutely not.”

“We’ve known for a long time that if there were problems in Korea, our main arms would be the Navy and the Air Force, and they are not stretched the way the Army and Marines are.”

Gates and Mullen also took questions on several other hot spots around the world.

Asked about the latest NATO military campaign in Afghanistan, Mullen said the Kandahar campaign already is under way, and that leaders are not surprised at the increasing insurgent violence there.

“We expect this to be a tough year,” Mullen said. “The poppy season is over, and they’ve gone back to get their weapons. That violence would rise doesn’t surprise me at all.”

The admiral added that he is optimistic about the Kandahar outcome. “We’ve got the right strategy and the right leadership,” he said.

Turning to Pakistan, Gates and Mullen said Pakistani leaders are fully on board with fighting terrorist groups in the country, and recognize they share that interest with the United States. Pakistan is planning to execute a mission in the volatile North Waziristan region, and has seven divisions and 140,000 troops there, they said.

“We now have a mutual interest in trying to stop this group, to stop them from carrying out attacks outside of Pakistan, especially in the United States,” Gates said.

On Iraq, Gates said the military is on track to complete President Barack Obama’s plan to reduce troop strength there to 50,000 by Sept. 1. Some of the drawdown was postponed due to the delayed national election in March, but, Army Gen. Raymond T. Odierno, commander of U.S. Forces Iraq, “has total flexibility” with how he wants to manage it, he said.

Asked about the recount of Iraq’s election results, Gates said it was “a positive development, in that it reaffirmed the original count and the legitimacy of the election.”

Finally, on the United Nations resolution for sanctions against Iran, Gates said it is “somewhat stronger” than he expected. The resolution is important, he said, because it is a reminder of Iran’s isolation, and it provides a legal platform for countries and organizations such as the European Union to take more stringent actions of their own against Iran.

There is evidence that the resolution is making an impact inside Iran, Gates said, noting the extent to which Iran is trying to keep it from passing. The resolution, coupled with any action by individual countries, “has the ability to change behavior” in the Iranian government, he said.

U.S. officials say they are considering a variety of options, ranging from useless U.N. Security Council action to additional insignificant U.S. penalties.

“North Korea should know that provocative acts have consequences,” said State Department spokesman P.J. Crowley, of course they need not be significant.

But looming over the discussions is concern that a harsh reaction could escalate tensions to the point of clashes. There is also concern an aggressive response could trigger the collapse of what is arguably the world’s most isolated and authoritarian regime, U.S. officials said. It must be pointed out that the Obama administration is planning negotiations over which sides of the streets in Seoul that the North may occupy.

Posted in China, Korea, Military, Music, Navy, Obama, Politics, War Crimes | Tagged: , | Leave a Comment »

Commanders Cite Top Security Concerns

Posted by Larry Barnes on March 25, 2009

By Donna Miles
American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, March 25, 2009 – What keeps the top U.S. commanders up at night? Three four-star officers from Europe and the Pacific got asked that question yesterday during a House Armed Services Committee hearing and shared their most pressing concerns.

Army Gen. Walter “Skip” Sharp, commander of U.S. Forces Korea, said his No. 1 concern lies directly north of his Seoul headquarters. “It’s Kin Jong Il in the North Korea regime … and his willingness to be able to do everything he can for his regime’s survival,” even at the expense of his own people, he told the panel.

For Army Gen. Bantz J. Craddock, commander of U.S. European Command, the biggest concern is making sure NATO has a force “ready and adequate” to respond to a threat or direct attack.

Meanwhile, at U.S. Pacific Command, Navy Adm. Timothy J. Keating said he sees “the spread of radical terrorists and those who would support them” as the biggest threats in an otherwise stable region.

Sharp called North Korea “the primary threat to stability and security in northeast Asia.”
“We continue to be concerned with the threat posed by North Korea’s large conventional military, artillery, ballistic missiles and special-operating forces, all that are located very near the North-South Korea border,” he told the panel.

In addition, North Korea is the world’s leading supplier to ballistic missiles and related technology, and a major proliferator of conventional weapons, he said.

Sharp pointed to North Korea’s most recent provocations — including a planned satellite launch — “an attempt to ensure the regime survival and improve its bargaining position at international negotiations to gain concessions.”

Meanwhile, Craddock said his biggest issue is ensuring the 26-nation NATO alliance is ready to respond to “Article 4 or 5 directives” issued due to a direct threat or attack on a NATO ally.

“It’s when they tell me to do it, I have something capable to do it with,” Craddock told American Forces Press Service.

Russia’s incursion into Georgia last summer shook some long-held assumptions, he said during yesterday’s testimony.

“For years — 15, 16 years — the assumption made in our focus on Europe was that there would be no invasions of anyone’s land borders,” Craddock said. “Well, that turned upside down, and that created an angst, a sense of tension among many of the NATO nations.”

The key in moving toward the future, he said, is to “find and strike a balance between Russia and the NATO members and NATO partners.”

“I believe we need to open up a dialogue and an engagement both bilaterally, the United States with Russia, and also from an alliance perspective,” Craddock said.
As the discussion turned to the Pacific, Keating told the committee, “We don’t lose sleep over many things at our headquarters.”

He called the threat of violent extremism a black mark in his area of operations that’s otherwise characterized by “a remarkable level of stability.”

Keating noted progress made in preventing its spread, particularly in Indonesia and the Philippines, during congressional testimony yesterday and last week. “I think we’re making reasonable to good progress on our efforts to make life difficult for them, to reduce their number and to reduce their support base,” he said.

Pacom currently has about 650 special operations forces in the Philippines, training the Philippine military, Keating told the panel. As a result of this type of cooperation, the Philippines’ armed forces are “making great strides in reducing the vulnerability and the sustainability of the Abuy Sayyaf group and the Jamaah Islamiyah terrorists that have been trying to secure a foothold in the southern Philippines,” he said.

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U.S. Commander for Korea Calls Alliance Lynchpin for Stability

Posted by Larry Barnes on March 19, 2009

By Jim Garamone
American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, March 19, 2009 – Almost 56 years past the armistice that ended the fighting on the Korean peninsula, the U.S.-South Korea alliance has turned into a lynchpin for stability in Northeast Asia, the commander of U.S. Forces Korea told the Senate Armed Services Committee today.

Army Gen. Walter “Skip” Sharp told the senators he considers the U.S. relationship with South Korea “our strongest and most successful alliance.”

The republic has grown from a war-torn and almost leveled country to a nation with a world-class infrastructure and educated work force that works with fellow democracies.

“The Republic of Korea armed forces have fought alongside Americans in Vietnam,” Sharp said. “They’ve participated in Operation Desert Storm and deployed troops to Iraq and Afghanistan. The Republic of Korea has participated in United Nations peacekeeping operations, and currently has a presence in six of those operations around the world.”

But the enemy remains North Korea, and countering that threat remains Sharp’s most important mission. The survival of Kim Jong Il’s regime is the focus for North Korea, Sharp said.

“North Korea remains the world’s leading supplier of ballistic missiles and related technology and remains a major proliferator of conventional weapons as well,” he said.

North Korea continues to try to provoke reactions. The North has threatened South Korea in the West Sea. Kim unilaterally nullified the South-North Basic Agreement. North Korean officials have said they cannot protect the safety of civilian airliners traveling through their country’s airspace, and the country’s leaders have suggested a possible ballistic missile launch.

“All an attempt to ensure regime survival, improve its bargaining position at international negotiations to gain concessions,” Sharp said.

North Korea’s conventional military continues to pose a threat. The North Korean army is arrayed along the demilitarized zone.

“My first priority as the commander is to maintain trained, ready and disciplined combined and joint command forces that are prepared to fight and win in any potential conflict,” the general said. “Facing any number of challenges that could arise on the peninsula with little warning, our commitment to the alliance spans the entire spectrum of conflict. Given the varied potential challenges, our forces constantly strive to maintain the highest possible level of training and readiness.”

The second priority is to continue to strengthen the alliance. Both U.S. and South Korean forces are transforming to meet the threats and to be more agile and deadly. One aspect of this transformation is the plan for South Korean forces to attain wartime operational control on April 17, 2012.

“An enduring U.S. force presence in Korea after [the] transfer in 2012 will ensure a strong alliance which is fully capable of maintaining security in this critical part of the world,” Sharp said. “I am absolutely confident this transition will be a success for both the United States and the Republic of Korea and will serve as the key foundation for future regional stability.”

Quality of life for U.S. personnel on the peninsula is the general’s third priority. “Our goal is to make Korea the assignment of choice for all servicemembers and their families,” he said.

The majority of U.S. forces accompanied by their families soon will serve normal three-year tours. Sharp said this will significantly increase U.S. warfighting capability and improve the quality of life for personnel by eliminating “the long and unnecessary separation” of servicemembers from their families, he said.

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