If the ROK-US Alliance Were a Picture…

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U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton, center, and U.S. Secretary of Defense Robert Gates, second from right, are briefed at the truce village of Panmunjom in the demilitarized zone that separates the two Koreas. (Pool photo by Paul J. Richards)…it would look spruce. But, really, this looks like damage control.

U.S. officials said they expect an announcement Wednesday of “country-specific sanctions” against North Korea. One official described them as “strong,” and said they would target banks and other institutions but declined to be more specific.

U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton, center, and U.S. Secretary of Defense Robert Gates, second from right, are briefed at the truce village of Panmunjom in the demilitarized zone that separates the two Koreas. (Pool photo by Paul J. Richards)…it would look spruce. But, really, this looks like damage control.

U.S. officials said they expect an announcement Wednesday of “country-specific sanctions” against North Korea. One official described them as “strong,” and said they would target banks and other institutions but declined to be more specific.

South Korea’s foreign minister, Yu Myung-hwan, told YTN television Tuesday that he also expected Washington to announce additional sanctions against North Korea.

Gates, arriving a day earlier than Clinton, announced Tuesday with his South Korean counterpart Kim Tae-young that the U.S. and South Korea would push ahead with four days of joint military exercises starting Sunday.

The U.S. stations 28,500 soldiers in South Korea, a legacy of the Korean War, and routinely holds joint military drills that raise the ire of North Korean officials, who cite the threat as a main reason for building up its nuclear program.

The DMZ visit, Korean War commemoration and security talks reflect Washington’s “strong relationship and partnership” with South Korea, U.S. State Department spokesman P.J. Crowley said in Washington on Tuesday.

“We hope that North Korea’s paying attention. We hope that it will understand that we are fully committed to the defense of South Korea, and we hope that it will take steps as a result to reduce tensions, improve relations with its neighbors, cease these provocative actions and work more constructively towards denuclearization of the Korean peninsula,” he said.

U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton, right, shakes hands with U.S. Ambassador to South Korea Kathleen Stephens at the Seoul Military Airport in Seongnam, South Korea, July 21. (AP Photo)Is the US really at a loss for what to do with the DPRK? And, this sounds diplomatic.

Geoff Morrell, the Pentagon press secretary, said that the United Nations command tried to officially inform the North Koreans on Tuesday about the exercises, but they refused, he said, to accept the communication. The United Nations command at the DMZ then resorted to shouting the message by bullhorn across the border.

But, if all else fails, Mrs. Clinton can wear the mutual national colors, and the North Koreans can leer through the window. Classic!

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Filed under: Korea, Military, USA Tagged: dmz, dprk, hillary rodham, north korea, robert gates, rok, South Korea



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