US deploys attack drones to South Korea amid tension with North

SEOUL: The United States has started to deploy attack drones to South Korea, a U.S. military spokesman said on Monday, days after it began to deploy an advanced anti-missile system to counter “continued provocative actions” by isolated North Korea.

The drones, Gray Eagle Unmanned Aerial Systems (UAS) coming to South Korea are part of a broader plan to deploy a company of the attack drones with every division in the U.S. Army, the spokesman said.

“The UAS adds significant intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance capability to U.S. Forces Korea and our ROK partners,” United States Forces Korea spokesman Christopher Bush said in a statement.

He did not say exactly when the drones would arrive in South Korea, officially the Republic of Korea (ROK).

North Korea has conducted two nuclear tests and a string of missile tests since the beginning of last year, despite the imposition of new U.N. sanctions.

Last week, the U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, Nikki Haley, said Washington was re-evaluating its North Korea strategy and “all options are on the table.”

The Gray Eagle is a remotely controlled attack drone made by U.S.-based General Atomics. They will be stationed at Kunsan Air Base, 180 km (112 miles) south of Seoul, Bush said, and would be permanently based in South Korea.

On March 7, the United States deployed the “first elements” of the controversial Terminal High Altitude Area Defense (THAAD) anti-missile system to South Korea, despite angry opposition from China.

Once fully deployed in South Korea, a THAAD battery could theoretically use its radar to see and monitor activity beyond North Korea, deep into Chinese territory. Russia also worries the deployment could compromise its security, and said it would lead to a stalemate on the Korean peninsula.

South Korea will hold a presidential election by May 9 after the impeachment and dismissal last week of its former president, Park Geun-hye, and policy on North Korea and the THAAD system are likely to be contentious issues in the campaign.

(Reporting by James Pearson; Editing by Robert Birsel and Clarence Fernandez)

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This entry was posted in North Korea, South Korea, US and tagged , , , by Trần Đình Hoành. Bookmark the permalink.

About Trần Đình Hoành

I am an attorney in the Washington DC area, with a Doctor of Law in the US, attended the master program at the National School of Administration of Việt Nam, and graduated from Sài Gòn University Law School. I aso studied philosophy at the School of Letters in Sài Gòn. I have worked as an anti-trust attorney for Federal Trade Commission and a litigator for a fortune-100 telecom company in Washington DC. I have taught law courses for legal professionals in Việt Nam and still counsel VN government agencies on legal matters. I have founded and managed businesses for me and my family, both law and non-law. I have published many articles on national newspapers and radio stations in Việt Nam. In 1989 I was one of the founding members of US-VN Trade Council, working to re-establish US-VN relationship. Since the early 90's, I have established and managed VNFORUM and VNBIZ forum on VN-related matters; these forums are the subject of a PhD thesis by Dr. Caroline Valverde at UC-Berkeley and her book Transnationalizing Viet Nam. I translate poetry and my translation of "A Request at Đồng Lộc Cemetery" is now engraved on a stone memorial at Đồng Lộc National Shrine in VN. I study and teach the Bible and Buddhism. In 2009 I founded and still manage dotchuoinon.com on positive thinking and two other blogs on Buddhism. In 2015 a group of friends and I founded website CVD - Conversations on Vietnam Development (cvdvn.net). I study the art of leadership with many friends who are religious, business and government leaders from many countries. In October 2011 Phu Nu Publishing House in Hanoi published my book "Positive Thinking to Change Your Life", in Vietnamese (TƯ DUY TÍCH CỰC Thay Đổi Cuộc Sống). In December 2013 Phu Nu Publishing House published my book "10 Core Values for Success". I practice Jiu Jitsu and Tai Chi for health, and play guitar as a hobby, usually accompanying my wife Trần Lê Túy Phượng, aka singer Linh Phượng.

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