The United States has deployed a surveillance aircraft to one of its air bases in Japan, an aviation tracker has said, for a possible mission near the Korean Peninsula. An RC-135S Cobra Ball plane departed Offutt Air Force Base in Nebraska for Kadena Air Base in Japan's Okinawa, Aircraft Spots said in a Twitter post Sunday, without elaborating on the exact time of its flight. On Saturday, the aviation tracker said RC-135U Combat Sent departed the Kadena base for a mission in the East Sea.
South Korea and the United States could scale back their annual joint military exercises in August over coronavirus concerns or suspend them altogether, sources said Saturday. The pandemic has already forced the two countries to cancel drills scheduled for March. “While both sides share the understanding the August drills should be conducted, things are flexible given the unabating coronavirus pandemic,” a Defense Ministry official said. The drills would require a great number o
South Korea and the United States appear increasingly likely to scale back or even call off a major combined exercise again due to the new coronavirus, after indefinitely postponing their annual springtime drill earlier this year, sources said Saturday. The repeated skipping of annual exercises, if realized, is feared to affect the joint combat posture between the two countries, as well as South Korea's planned takeover of the wartime operational control (OPCON) of its forces from the US. &
Eight American service members and one civilian employee for the US Forces Korea have tested positive for the new coronavirus, the US military said Friday. Of the nine, seven arrived at Osan Air Base in Pyeongtaek, south of Seoul, on two US government chartered flights, while the others arrived here on commercial flights, it said. All nine individuals tested positive in their first mandatory COVID-19 test prior to entering quarantine, and they have been moved to isolation facilities at the US
The defense ministry opened a shelter Thursday for victims of sexual crimes at barracks following the launch of an investigative unit specialized in sexual violence and human rights abuse cases, it said. The launch of the victim support center is part of the military's broader efforts to prevent sexual violence and carry out probes in a more victim-centered manner, according to the ministry. In January, the military launched a separate investigative unit focused on sexual violence cases and d
Defense Minister Jeong Kyeong-doo held an unannounced meeting with US Forces Korea (USFK) Commander Gen. Robert Abrams this week, sources said Wednesday, as Seoul and Washington have been working to arrange their summertime combined exercise amid the new coronavirus. Jeong and Abrams held the meeting at the ministry's main building in Seoul on Tuesday "to discuss diverse pending issues," a source said. Detailed agenda items were not known, but the meeting took place at a time when S
The vice defense ministers of South Korea and Vietnam held talks via video links Monday and pledged to strengthen cooperation against the new coronavirus and other security issues, Seoul's defense ministry said. During the talks with Nguyen Chi Vinh, Vice Defense Minister Park Jae-in explained the government's response against COVID-19, and said South Korea has the virus situation under control thanks to its preemptive quarantine efforts and active participation by the citizens, according to t
South Korea's first military communications satellite could be launched into space next week, US-based websites on space launch schedules showed Monday. The Anasis-II satellite could lift off from Florida on a Falcon 9 Block 5 rocket by US-based commercial space firm SpaceX on around July 14 (US time), though the schedule is subject to change, according to Spaceflight Now, a news outlet specializing in space and aviation. It earlier reported that the launch could take place around the second
The US Department of Defense has lifted travel restrictions on six military bases in South Korea following a review of COVID-19 trends in the country. According to a Thursday press release, the six bases met the criteria for lifting travel restrictions as of June 29. The installations are Camp Casey, Camp Henry and Camp Humphreys, as well as the bases in Yongsan, Gunsan and Osan. In total, restrictions have been lifted for 70 of 231 installations in the US and worldwide with more than 1,000 D
F Five US citizens affiliated with the US Forces Korea (USFK), including two service members, tested positive for the new coronavirus, the US military said Saturday. The latest COVID-19 cases brought the total number of infections among the USFK population to 47. Two dependents of a USFK service member arrived at Incheon International Airport, west of Seoul, from Europe on June 21 and were moved to Camp Humphreys in Pyeongtaek, some 70 kilometers south of Seoul, where they tested negative for
South Korea and the United States are considering calling off their joint military exercises in August, held twice annually in March and August, due to concerns over the coronavirus pandemic, a local report said Friday citing Seoul officials. The two sides were reportedly mulling three options: canceling the drills, scaling them back or forging ahead. The officials said the government at the moment was taking preparations on the assumption that the Combined Forces Command between Seoul and Wa
A helicopter operated by the US Forces Korea made a precautionary landing shortly after take-off from central Seoul on Thursday due to suspected engine problems, officials said. The UH-60 Blackhawk helicopter with five people aboard lifted off from Seoul's Yongsan Garrison and was heading toward the large American base in Pyeongtaek, some 70 kilometers south of the capital city, when unusual signs were detected at around 3:50 p.m., according to local police. Confirming the incident, USFK sai
Two American service members had been briefly released from quarantine even though they tested positive for the new coronavirus because their test results were recorded as negative due to an administrative error, the US Forces Korea said Thursday. The two service members arrived at Osan Air Base in Pyeongtaek, just south of Seoul, on a US government-chartered flight on June 17, and they were moved to separate places in Osan, as they tested negative for the first test and entered quarantine.
The United States remains dedicated to a successful handover of the wartime operational control to South Korea, said Gen. Robert Abrams, who holds dual roles of commander of the US military here and the Combined Forces Command between Seoul and Washington. “The United States is firmly committed to the successful execution of this alliance plan that will ultimately result in a Republic of Korea four-star leading the Combined Forces Command,” the four-star general said at a defense f
South Korea’s military on Tuesday opened applications for alternative military service to conscientious objectors. The move is in line with the Constitutional Court’s landmark ruling in June 2018 that objectors be given noncombat ways to fulfill their mandatory national service. Applicants who pass a series of fitness tests organized by the Defense Ministry and other expert groups will start their active duty as early as October as workers in correctional centers carrying out day-