Skip to comments.U.S. expert calls for increasing American troop presence in S. Korea to stop NK provocations
Posted on 12/14/2010 12:15:24 AM PST by TigerLikesRooster
U.S. expert calls for increasing American troop presence in S. Korea to stop NK provocations
By Chang Jae-soon
SEOUL, Dec. 14 (Yonhap) -- The United States should seriously think about stationing more troops in South Korea to deter further North Korean provocations, a U.S. expert and former White House security official said Tuesday amid high tensions over the North's artillery shelling of a South Korean island.
"The single most important indicator, symbolic and significant indicator of U.S. commitment, security commitment to South Korea, has been its troop presence on the peninsula," Georgetown University professor Victor Cha said during a speech at the Korea Chamber of Commerce and Industry.
"Even a symbolic increase in that troop presence will send a very clear message to North Korea and to China that there are real costs to continued North Korean provocations," he told a forum of South Korean business leaders.
Cha, one of the best-known security experts on Korea, had served as the Asian affairs director at the White House's National Security Council in the previous U.S. administration and as a U.S. negotiator in six-party talks on North Korea's nuclear programs.
About 28,500 American troops are stationed in South Korea to deter threats from the communist North, a legacy of the 1950-53 Korean War that ended in a truce, not a peace treaty, leaving the two sides still technically at war.
Tensions on the divided peninsula have spiked after the North's Nov. 23 shelling of the South's Yeonpyeong Island, which killed four people, including two civilians. The artillery attack came eight months after the North torpedoed a South Korean warship, killing 46 sailors.
Pyongyang has also ratcheted up nuclear tensions last month with revelations that it has a facility to enrich uranium that can be used to fuel atomic bombs if highly enriched. The uranium program gives North Korea a second way of making nuclear weapons after its plutonium-based program.
Cha praised the measures the current U.S. government has taken to deter North Korea following the island shelling, such as holding joint military exercises with South Korea more frequently, bolstering trilateral relations with South Korea and Japan, and calling on China to exercise its influence over North Korea.
But he also suggested other options to discourage North Korea from provocations, including increasing American troop levels in South Korea and getting the U.N. Security Council to adopt a resolution authorizing the use of force against the North.
"A U.N. Security Council resolution that authorizes the use of force in response to further North Korean attacks would be something new and it would be a clear sign that the U.N. stands behind the United States and South Korea," Cha said.
"The United States and South Korea are not obligated to act on that resolution but having the resolution in place will send a very clear signal to countries about how serious the situation is."
Cha said the recently concluded free trade agreement between Seoul and Washington would also help enhance relations between the two countries, saying the accord is not simply a trade deal, but it will have wider impacts on relations between the two allies.
The "negotiations were negotiated by trade people. But the argument for its passage in the Congress will be a strategic argument. I don't think it will just be trade and jobs argument," he said.
"Whether it's Vice President (Joseph) Biden or Secretary of State (Hillary) Clinton, when they start calling up congressmen and senators about the need to get this agreement passed, they will talk about it not just as a trade agreement, but as something we need to tighten the relationship even more in the face of North Korean threats."
On the power transition in North Korea, Cha expressed strong skepticism that Kim Jong-un, the foreign-educated youngest son of leader Kim Jong-il, will carry out any reforms. North Korea has made the junior Kim a four-star general and given him senior Workers' Party titles in steps to put him in place to take over after his father.
"I think the more people have looked at this, the more that they have reached the conclusion that the young North Korean leader is not likely to bring major change or major reform to the North Korean system," the expert said, citing fears about regime survival as one of the reasons.
"Kim Jong-il and Kim Jong-un both know that reform is essential to the North Korean system, that the North Korean system will not survive unless it reforms," Cha said.
"The dilemma that they face is any effort at reform will ultimately lead to the collapse of political control. And that is simply a trade-off that the current or future government are not willing to make."
Getting a UN Security Council resolution authorizing force will not happen. Call Morty and make book on it.
If we wanted to impress upon the Norks that we’re serious, we’d let it “slip” that we’ve moved two boomers into the area so close that we could hit them with a depressed trajectory shot in minutes. Move a few attack subs into the area to insure their navy could be bottomed quickly if we want.
And then... don’t say a thing in public. Deny any questions about these movements. Wave a hand, dismiss it as press fantasy. And whatever we do, we do NOT go to the UN to complain or explain.
These morons we now seem to install in government need to re-learn TR’s dictum: Speak softly, carry a big stick.
Of course, this is all fantasy, what with the Ivy Leaguers in power. I’m sure we’ll go to the UN and talk, talk, talk, and talk some more. Blah, blah, blah. More jobs for ratchet-jawed purveyors of monkey doodle.
The Kenyan won’t do it.
Here's my war-monger take: Pull our Troops out and let South Korea deal it, until the Norks hit them too hard and we send some Trident-based nukes over and put out the last of their lights as seen from satellites. Since that won't happen, how about massive air-bombing and cruise missles?
I'm so sick of this collateral damage wussification (remember Dresdan?). I would rather their children die than ours or our Allies. I'm done with these wanna be nuke a-holes. Just friggin kill them now while we have the upper hand.
Actually, it is about this time that some NK sub should go missing.
That would certainly work, but it is a direct escalation if evidence comes up “how” it “went missing.”
What we need is a way to put one of their subs on the bottom with nothing being communicated or coming to the top. A pretty tall order as I understand it.
Not gonna happen with the current strain on US forces... plus, the South Koreans have long been trying to reduce the presence of US forces in their country.
So why should we put our troops into a country that doesn’t want them?
It’s been abundantly clear for many, many years that the only American troop presence that will stop North Korean provocation is an American troop presence in Pyongyang.
That, however, is something we are unlikely to see any time soon.
I’m kind of in agreement...just pull our guys out. In fact, if you wanted to humiliate the NK crowd...just say that they weren’t really a threat to anyone and it was a waste of time to stay there.
Give the South a couple of nukes, pull our boys out and let Korea defend itself.
Tell China to stay out of it.
Only THEN will they know we are "serious".
I'm talking true hardball here.
Considering nothing else has worked to-date.
No. Just no.
Now is not the time because of the recent NK actions. But I don’t think having a bunch of American troops hostage to the actions of NK is a good idea and would withdraw them.
SK is a wealthy, advanced nation that can afford it’s own defense. I would sell them weaponry and support them with air and naval assets in the event of a war. But American troops on the ground just make it easy for the SK’s not to have a sufficient defense capability themselves.
This will get really dangerous not because we are too tough but we will soon show sign of wavering, giving wrong signal to NK's father and son duo, along with Chicom ruling elites, that one more big push will completely crack our resolve for sustained stand-off.
In the end, we will pay for not being steadfast enough.
“U.S. expert calls for increasing American troop presence in S. Korea to stop NK provocations”
That will work about as well as raising taxes on cigarettes to get people to stop smoking.
We’ve been there since 1950.
If the ROK troops can’t defend themselves now, when will they ?
Victor Cha has been calling for an increased US troop presence in SK for the last week or so. He wrote a piece last week called Strategic Logic on the Korean Peninsula Headed Toward War
Interesting that the Korean press is now picking up on the story.
PS Last night TBS TV showed a great docu-drama, on the Korean Airlines midair bombing (1988) performed by NK female agent Kim Hyong Hee, Japanese voice-over of a South Korean drama it seems.
Probably the first person to be clubbed to death by angry mob when NK regime falls.