South Korea displays F-35 stealth jets seen by the North as a threat

A Lockheed Martin F-35 fighter jet lands at the Payerne Air Base in Switzerand during flight and ground tests in this June 7, 2019 file photo. (AFP)
Updated 01 October 2019

South Korea displays F-35 stealth jets seen by the North as a threat

  • North Korea has criticized the South’s weapons procurements and its joint military drills with the US military
  • Analysts have said the F-35 stealth jets put Pyongyang’s anti-aircraft and anti-missile defense systems in a vulnerable position

SEOUL: South Korea showcased newly acquired F-35 stealth fighter jets to mark Armed Forces Day on Tuesday as President Moon Jae-in tried to allay concerns that his policy of engagement with North Korea would weaken the South’s commitment to defense.
At an event marking the founding of the South Korean military, Moon said South Korean fighter jets conducted patrol flights offshore, including over islands at the center of a bitter territorial dispute with Japan.
North Korea has criticized the South’s weapons procurements and its joint military drills with the US military as undisguised preparations for war that are forcing it to develop new short-range missiles.
Moon has thrown his support behind dialogue to end the North’s nuclear and ballistic missile programs, urging that working-level negotiations between the North and the United States be held soon. No new dates or locations have been set.
Moon marked Armed Forces Day at a ceremony at an air base in the city of Daegu that highlighted four of the eight Lockheed Martin F-35A jets delivered this year. Forty of the aircraft are to be delivered by 2021.
During the event, an F-15K jet patrolled over the islands claimed by both South Korea and Japan and called Dokdo in Korea and Takeshima in Japan.
Moon made no direction mention of North Korea or Japan but said today’s security climate was highly unpredictable, requiring strength and innovation.
“As the recent drone attack in the Middle East region demonstrated to the world, the challenges that we will face will be entirely different from those of the past,” he said in an address to the military. “The war of the future will be a fight of science and intelligence against all elements that threaten our people’s safety and property.”
Analysts have said the F-35 stealth jets put North Korea’s anti-aircraft and anti-missile defense systems in a vulnerable position.
Negotiations aimed at dismantling North Korea’s nuclear and missile programs have stalled since a second summit between US President Donald Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un broke down in February over disagreements on denuclearization.
North Korea blamed the United States on Monday for a failure to restart talks, with Pyongyang’s UN ambassador Kim Song saying it was time for Washington to share proposals for talks that showed Washington had adopted a new “calculation method.”
South Korea and the United States have separately begun talks for a new military burden-sharing agreement to decide how much South Korea will pay for stationing what is now about 28,500 US troops in the country.
Moon told Trump during a summit in New York last week what South Korea would contribute, including an increase in purchases of US weapons and future purchase plans, a senior official at South Korea’s presidential office said.


Philippines and India agree to strengthen defense, security ties

In this handout photograph taken and released by Indian Presidential Palace on October 18, 2019, India's President Ram Nath Kovind (C-L) attends a press conference with Philippines' President Rodrigo Duterte (C-R) at Malacanan Palace in Manila. (AFP)
Updated 20 October 2019

Philippines and India agree to strengthen defense, security ties

  • The two leaders agreed to strengthen maritime security ties

MANILA: The Philippines and India have agreed to boost defense and security cooperation following talks between President Rodrigo Duterte and his Indian counterpart Ram Nath Kovind on Friday.
Kovind is in Manila as part of a five-day official visit to the Philippines that began on Thursday.
In a joint statement, Duterte said he and Kovind have committed to building a “partnership” between the Philippines and India “that enables us to face challenges to our hard-won progress, jointly and effectively.”
As Duterte welcomed India’s role in his country’s defense capability upgrade program, against the backdrop of growing security cooperation, he said they have agreed “to continue working together to fight terrorism and violent extremism and other transboundary threats.”
Kovind said “both of our countries have been victims of terrorism,” and the two leaders “committed to work closely to defeat and eliminate terrorism in all its forms
and manifestations.”
He added: “As two vibrant democracies that believe in a rules-based international order, respect for international law and sovereign equality of nations, the Philippines and India are natural partners in the pursuit of their respective national development and security objectives.”
The two leaders also agreed to strengthen maritime security ties.
“As countries strategically located in the Pacific and Indian oceans, we affirmed our shared interest to protect our maritime commons and advance the rule of law in our maritime domains,” Duterte said.

BACKGROUND

Indian President Ram Nath Kovind said ‘both of our countries have been victims of terrorism,’ and the two leaders ‘committed to work closely to defeat and eliminate terrorism in all its forms and manifestations.’

He added that they also discussed “the most pressing concerns of our region and beyond, such as maritime security and economic integration.”
Following their meeting, they witnessed the signing of maritime, tourism, science, technology and cultural agreements.
Among them was a memorandum of understanding between the Philippine Coast Guard and the Indian Navy to enhance maritime security by sharing information on nonmilitary and nongovernment shipping vessels between the two countries.
“With the signing of bilateral agreements, we have likewise widened the path toward enhancement of our engagement in maritime security, science and technology, tourism and cultural cooperation,” Duterte said.
“We hope to look back on this day as a milestone in our relations, the day when we set out to turn promise into reality, and potential into concrete benefits that bring the greatest positive impact on the lives of our peoples.”