Südkorea/USA — Mullen: Exercises Will Aim to Stabilize Korean Tensions

WASHINGTON, May 27, 2010 — Upcom­ing train­ing exer­cis­es for the U.S. and South Kore­an mil­i­taries fol­low­ing North Korea’s sink­ing of a South Kore­an navy ship are designed to help in con­trol­ling and sta­bi­liz­ing the sit­u­a­tion, not to esca­late ten­sions, the top U.S. mil­i­tary offi­cer said yes­ter­day dur­ing a vis­it to Col­orado Springs, Colo.

Navy Adm. Mike Mullen, chair­man of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, told reporters at Peter­son Air Force Base that the exer­cis­es are part of “strong mea­sures” to address North Korea’s sink­ing of the frigate Cheo­nan on March 26. The attack left 46 South Kore­an sailors dead.

Mullen called the inci­dent a “bla­tant act” from an unpre­dictable North Korea. “It is very clear to all of us that have looked at the evi­dence” there’s “no ques­tion that they did it,” he said.

U.S.-South Kore­an anti-sub­ma­rine war­fare exer­cis­es in the plan­ning stages will help to build capa­bil­i­ties to help pre­vent a repeat attack, he said. These exer­cis­es, the admi­ral not­ed, will present dif­fi­cult tech­ni­cal and tac­ti­cal chal­lenges, par­tic­u­lar­ly in light of shal­low oper­at­ing waters.

“[But] it’s a skill set we are going to press on, because clear­ly, we don’t want that to hap­pen again,” Mullen said. “We don’t want to give that option to North Korea in the future. We want to take it away.”

Cit­ing North Korea’s threat to sev­er all rela­tions with South Korea and its his­to­ry of cycli­cal vio­lence against the south, Mullen expressed con­cern that the Cheo­nan sink­ing could be more than an iso­lat­ed inci­dent.

“North Korea is pre­dictable in one sense: that it is unpre­dictable in what it is going to do,” Mullen said. “North Korea goes through these cycles. I wor­ry a great deal that this is not the last thing we are going to see.

“I think it’s impor­tant that we are vig­i­lant on this,” he added.

Mullen empha­sized that all plans regard­ing North Korea – such as those for any con­tin­gen­cies around the world – include “off ramps” aimed at deesca­lat­ing ten­sions. “It’s a part of our thought. It is in every­thing we do,” he said. “So very nat­u­ral­ly, it is part of how we are think­ing about this.”

He empha­sized, how­ev­er, that this approach does­n’t sig­nal impo­tence or weak­ness. “What­ev­er hap­pens in the future, I think there will be strong mea­sures,” he said. “But they are not designed to esca­late. They are designed to con­trol and to sta­bi­lize.”

The North Kore­an mil­i­tary has weak­ened, Mullen con­ced­ed, but still has the capa­bil­i­ties to inflict “a lot of dam­age,” par­tic­u­lar­ly in light of its prox­im­i­ty to Seoul.

Mean­while, Mullen not­ed strides being made with­in the South Kore­an mil­i­tary. Work­ing in close coop­er­a­tion with U.S. Forces Korea, it’s on a path to assum­ing wartime oper­a­tional con­trol of its forces in 2012.

“They have a lot more con­fi­dence in them­selves, and so do we,” Mullen said.

Source:
U.S. Depart­ment of Defense
Office of the Assis­tant Sec­re­tary of Defense (Pub­lic Affairs)

Team GlobDef

Team GlobDef

Seit 2001 ist GlobalDefence.net im Internet unterwegs, um mit eigenen Analysen, interessanten Kooperationen und umfassenden Informationen für einen spannenden Überblick der Weltlage zu sorgen. GlobalDefenc.net war dabei die erste deutschsprachige Internetseite, die mit dem Schwerpunkt Sicherheitspolitik außerhalb von Hochschulen oder Instituten aufgetreten ist.

Alle Beiträge ansehen von Team GlobDef →