November 30th, 2010
11:14 AM ET

U.S. general: No threat to troops, civilians in tense Korea

Lt. Gen. John D. Johnson, commander of the Seoul-based 8th Army, said he believes people should continue their normal activities.

North Korea said Tuesday that U.S. military exercises with South Korea could lead to "all-out war any time." But for the thousands of U.S. military dependents on the Korean Peninsula, it’s largely business as usual, the newspaper Stars & Stripes reports.

Any move to evacuate the U.S. citizens is “not even close,” Stripes quotes a U.S. Forces Korea spokesman as saying.

“We don’t feel that there’s a threat here, and we feel that the situation is normal and we keep on monitoring the situation,” Lt. Col. Jeff Buczkowski, an 8th Army spokesman, told Stripes.

“As of now, we don’t see any threat to 8th Army soldiers or families on mainland Korea. I encourage you to continue your normal, daily activities,” Lt. Gen. John D. Johnson, commander of the Seoul-based 8th Army, wrote on the unit’s website.

“We listen to the news, but we don’t let it affect our lives,” Orlando Lopez, an Army captain with a wife and two children in Seoul, told Stripes. “Right now, we think it’s calmed down.”

The U.S. military maintains a force of 28,500 in South Korea, the U.S. State Department says. About half of those troops are allowed to bring family members, according to USFK.

Tensions have been high on the Korean Peninsula for the past week after a North Korean artillery attack on Yeonpyeong Island killed four people and wounded 18 others. South Korea responded with shelling of its own.

On Monday, South Korea and the United States launched joint anti-submarine military exercises in the Yellow Sea, prompting more angry words from Pyongyang.

“The U.S. and the South Korean warmongers are escalating confrontation and tension through ceaseless moves to ignite a war, seriously disturbing peace and security on the Korean Peninsula,” a report from the North’s Korea Central News Agency said.

But Gen. Walter Sharp, commander of U.S. Forces Korea, says in a statement on the command website that “the situation is calmer now” and only advises families to be sure contact information is updated in the event of an emergency.

And Stripes points out, the U.S. State Department has not issued a travel alert for South Korea.

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Filed under: Military • North Korea • South Korea • World
soundoff (65 Responses)
  1. dustin

    And giving south korea nukes would incite china into war

    November 30, 2010 at 8:17 pm | Report abuse |
  2. Marc

    Ok seriously everybody, all of you who say we dont belong in korea, open your eyes. Korea is one of our few allies in a communistic and sadistic asia. Now I was raised to help your friends out if they were in danger, and these direct attacks are clear insights into what north korea has wanted to do for 50 years. They are a real threat, and if they are not stopped, they will wage a total war on the south killing soldier and civilian alike. Grow a pair Nd support our troops, and trust our military brass to handle the situation. They arent in positions of power like that because theyre stupid men. Trust in them and support our allies in the south.

    November 30, 2010 at 8:31 pm | Report abuse |
    • E

      America divided Korea. America created a lot of the problems in the Koreas. It is not our land, it is not our territory, it is not our responsibility to assist those who do not seek assistance. The military has been trying to "handle" this situation for decades and nothing has come of it. North and South Korea need to figure it out for themselves, I think we've tried long enough. We do not need another 'war' and we do not need to endanger American lives while trying to govern countries that do not wish to be governed with our ideologies... Marc, let me get this straight: anyone who favors no war and acts of agression overseas that put those brave soldiers at risk does not support the troops? I personally feel Americans need to learn more about our history and our mistakes in foreign policy... Maybe we could improve and repair our relationships with other countries and we wouldn't have such issues.

      November 30, 2010 at 11:14 pm | Report abuse |
  3. Frank Marshall

    North Korea's recent assault is an "act of war" conducted against civilians. U.S dependents should be evacuated. To have the senior commanders saying there is no risk is a joke. South Koreans in general are fearful and we should be as well. The problem for U.S. dependents is that their evacuation is an indication of future U.S. actions which is a signal the U.S. does not want to send. Any move by the North Koreans will occur with no warning. If I had dependents in South Korea they would be back in the U.S. visiting grandma. The threat of military action is the greatest in the last 60 years.

    November 30, 2010 at 10:59 pm | Report abuse |
  4. glenda contreras

    Our soldiers are in danger where every they are! I come from a long line of a family who serves our country. Im grateful to each and every person that protects my family and freedom! The fact is my 21 year old son is coming home to me a stranger because the things he saw a young adult can not take in. My son gave his youth to our country the USA and asked nothing in return and is forever changed.........

    December 1, 2010 at 3:54 am | Report abuse |
  5. Mike

    Isnt it obvious that CHINA is using North Korea to mess with the US through South Korea >>>??? I mean come on, China first shuts off internet outside of China rising necessary issues with Google & Baidu and trading...North Korea supposedly bombs a Korean Shp, now this????? HELLOOOOOOO AMERICANS??? use ur head!!!!! China is still shady...Neither US or China cares about EITHER SIDES OF KOREA! cuz its just war grounds!!! CHINA IS FAKE PUBLICLY TO THE WORLD BUT SECRETLY HELPING THE NORTH PLAYING WITH SOUTH KOREAN AND US!!!!!!!! DUHHHHHHH can someone in the U.S government just hire me ???? I thought China made a point in the olympics to US and Bush in the ceremony? or does people not have common sense these days!>>>

    December 1, 2010 at 4:25 am | Report abuse |
  6. David

    I think we should mind are own buisness and protect are own boarders I think that will be are down fall!!!!!!!

    December 1, 2010 at 4:52 am | Report abuse |
  7. kenneth mills

    Lets. Get the job done right. It's time to look good we the usa

    December 1, 2010 at 5:34 am | Report abuse |
    • Zahid

      re/ Mexico and legalization, amen.re/ a nuke guanartee for South Korea... why would you want the USA to escalate like that? That sounds something a neo-con would come up with.

      March 13, 2012 at 12:06 am | Report abuse |
  8. Jew Raab

    Greetings from North Korea :D

    December 2, 2010 at 11:47 am | Report abuse |
  9. Jew Raab

    David "are" is spelt "our" You used "are" incorrectly two times, you shouldn't be allowed to comment on political topics until you go back to grade school.

    December 2, 2010 at 11:49 am | Report abuse |
    • Nsane

      You tell him Jew Raab!!! Maybe he should stop commenting and just go check out my site, it is full of pics and videos I'm sure he will like, http://www.nsanephotography.com no intense spelling required and if the rest of the world went there we would have less worries about war....check out Nsane Photography and let love rule....

      December 2, 2010 at 5:24 pm | Report abuse |
  10. Daniel.M

    if its war then war then war it shall be!

    December 4, 2010 at 5:35 pm | Report abuse |
  11. R.W.Bickell

    solgers are ment to fight. we will do what we have to, but its not smart to throw around the word war. we are not kids in grade school gade school yelling fight!! we as in the world should be smart and stop calling each other out just by comments made by people we dont even know.

    .

    December 7, 2010 at 1:43 am | Report abuse |
  12. que es forex

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    April 24, 2012 at 5:05 pm | Report abuse |
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