U.S., South Korea Announce Yellow Sea Exercise

WASHINGTON, Aug. 18, 2010 — The Unit­ed States and South Korea announced a new set of mil­i­tary exer­cis­es that will be held in the Yel­low Sea ear­ly next month, a Pen­ta­gon offi­cial said here today.

South Kore­an and U.S. forces will par­tic­i­pate in anti-sub­ma­rine war­fare exer­cis­es. It is too ear­ly to detail what sur­face ships, sub­marines and air units will par­tic­i­pate, Pen­ta­gon spokesman Bryan Whit­man said.

The exer­cise is a direct out­growth of a North Kore­an sub­ma­rine sink­ing the South Kore­an frigate Cheo­nan in March. The attack killed 46 South Kore­an sailors.

In the “2-plus-2” meet­ings held in the South Kore­an cap­i­tal of Seoul last month, South Kore­an For­eign Min­is­ter Yu Myung-hwan and Defense Min­is­ter Defense Kim Tae-young met with Sec­re­tary of State Hillary Rod­ham Clin­ton and Defense Sec­re­tary Robert M. Gates to dis­cuss ways to demon­strate to North Korea the sol­i­dar­i­ty of the Amer­i­can alliance with South Korea.

“We said we would con­tin­ue a series of exer­cis­es – defen­sive in nature – that are designed to send a clear mes­sage to North Korea,” Whit­man said.

The exer­cise, to be con­duct­ed in inter­na­tion­al waters, will focus on anti-sub­ma­rine war­fare tac­tics, tech­niques and pro­ce­dures. “It will be con­duct­ed in the waters off the west­ern coast of South Korea,” Whit­man said. “This exer­cise is designed to improve the readi­ness and pro­fi­cien­cy of U.S. and [South Kore­an] forces to defend against sub­sur­face attacks.” As it builds on an already strong foun­da­tion of inter­op­er­abil­i­ty and flex­i­bil­i­ty, Whit­man said, the exer­cise will strength­en the U.S.-South Kore­an alliance. “Broad­ly, what it does is rein­force our resolve to sta­bil­i­ty and secu­ri­ty of the region,” he added.

Chi­na has object­ed to U.S. exer­cis­es in the Yel­low Sea, though the Unit­ed States mil­i­tary has exer­cised there for decades.

“Chi­na has no rea­son to view this exer­cise or this series of exer­cis­es as a threat to its secu­ri­ty,” Whit­man said. “These exer­cis­es are intend­ed to deter North Korea from future desta­bi­liz­ing attacks such as occurred with Cheo­nan and assure the region of [U.S. and South Kore­an] resolve to main­tain secu­ri­ty and sta­bil­i­ty on the Kore­an penin­su­la.”

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

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