The US has started to deploy attack drones to South Korea, an Army spokesman said on Monday, days after the Army deployed an advanced anti-missile system to counter “continued provocative actions” by North Korea.
Tensions have risen sharply since previous year when North Korea conducted two nuclear tests and launched two dozen ballistic missiles despite global condemnation and economic sanctions aimed at persuading it to stop its weapons program.
North Korea’s official name is the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea.
“The United States continues to be a steadfast ally, friend, and partner to the ROK (South Korea)”.
An unnamed South Korea military official told South Korea’s Yonhap news agency the drones will enhance the alliance’s ability to strike targets on the ground should war break out.
The threat posed by North Korea has neighboring Asian nations scrambling for a plan on how best to confront the defiant government of Kim Jong Un and slow its advance toward being able to launch a nuclear strike. It’s a task President Donald Trump complicated past year by challenging Japan and South Korea to contribute more to their own defense and questioning the fundamentals of four decades of US diplomacy with China.
In response, Pyongyang displayed a show of strength by launching four ballistic missiles at once – suggesting they were practising for an attack on USA military bases in Japan. The three navies were also conducting missile defense information-sharing drills Wednesday in seas east of the divided Korean Peninsula and north of Japan to promote interoperability, the U.S. Navy’s 7th Fleet said. The mainland would bear the brunt of any refugee exodus from the North and would face the unsettling prospect of a unified Korea – and US troops – along its border. South Korea has yet to restore the wartime operation control of its troops from the USA, a legacy from the 1950-53 Korean War.
The conundrum for Tillerson is how to counter the North’s highly destabilizing instigations to satisfy Seoul and Tokyo’s concerns without alarming an already hyper-suspicious China about a perceived USA containment strategy.
Alarmed by North Korea’s weapons tests, South Korea and the United States have agreed to deploy THAAD, the Terminal High Altitude Area Defense missile system in South Korea.
That has raised tensions with China, which says the THAAD’s radar could peer into Chinese territory, weakening its own nuclear deterrent. It will be deployed to a USA military base in the southwestern town of Gunsan to strengthen strike capabilities against ground targets in the North, the official told Yonhap. Many in China believe the U.S.is using North Korea as a scapegoat for the installation of the THAAD system – a system that has the potential to make China’s nuclear deterrence capabilities redundant. -China Initiative told VOA that Chinese officials “will be looking for indications of how seriously President Trump will pursue economic issues such as redressing the trade balance and seeking more opportunities for USA firms to export goods and services to China”.