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Avatar of GI KoreaBy on February 11th, 2012 at 3:28 am

Hankyoreh Criticizes USFK Participation In the Yama Sakura Exercise

It looks like the Korean left is upset because USFK sent a small unit of servicemembers to participate in the Yama Sakura exercise in Japan that concluded last week:

United States Forces Korea are for the first time carrying out joint exercises with United States Forces Japan and the Japanese Self-Defense Forces. USFJ and Japan Ground Self-Defense Forces are currently engaged in Yama Sakura joint military exercises, which last from January 24 to February 5. Yama Sakura is an annual exercise conducted with the United States Army Pacific, USFJ and JGSDF; this year, the Eighth United States Army, which is stationed in South Korea, will join the exercise for the first time.

On Friday, the Asahi Shimbun reported that 150 troops from the Eighth US Army were taking part in joint exercises in places such as the JGSDF base in Itami, Hyogo Prefecture, from January 24. Earlier, in a press release issued on January, the Eighth US Army explained its role in the exercise, saying that it would “serv[e] the role as higher command for participating U.S. Forces.”

The reason the joint exercise between USFK, USFJ and SDF is drawing attention is its connection to the increasing of so-called “strategic flexibility,” which allows USFK to be deployed in other conflicts in the Asia-Pacific region in times of emergency. The US has been engaged in a project to merge its bases in South Korea and gather them in Pyeongtaek, in order to reorganize the USFK from a mere occupying force to an all-round expedition force. In March last year, it temporarily transferred 500 troops from the Second Infantry Division to the Philippines to take part in the “Balikatan” exercise.

This series of measures by the US is being taken with China in mind. Last year, the US Army announced plans to station 2,500 marines in Darwin, northern Australia, and deploy a top-of-the-line warship in Singapore. Earlier, it strengthened cooperation with Vietnam, sending warships to Cam Ranh Bay for the first time since its defeat in the Vietnam War in 1975, It has recently been holding discussions with authorities in the Philippines to increase its military presence there for the first time in more than 20 years. The US’s recent policy of slashing defense spending, too, sends an advance warning that “strategic flexibility” of USFK is to become a reality.

The current exercise demonstrates that the character of USFK is changing. Accordingly, the importance of the Pyeongtaek base, the closest base to Beijing, will continue to increase.
Another reason the Yama Sakura exercise is drawing attention is that one of the participants is Japan’s SDF. Japan has been trying to strengthen the defensive alliance between itself, South Korea and the US, citing the threat of North Korea. The South Korean government has responded half-heartedly. Korean public sentiment is one thing, but there are dangerous aspects to increasing military ties with Japan from a military strategic point of view, too. The US is not in a position where it can keep ignoring Japan’s wishes. The Japanese government’s release of images of the joint exercise to the media on Thursday is not something to be overlooked either. Japanese media showed interest in talks held between South Korean, US and Japanese vice-defense ministers from January 30-31, but Korea’s Ministry of National Defense played down their significance.

Korea, in addition to striking a balance between the US and China, has been lumbered with the additional burden of maintaining an appropriate military relationship with Japan.  [Hankyoreh via the Marmot's Hole]

Here is a note to the Hankyoreh and the Korean left, strategic flexibility of USFK is already a reality and has been for a few years since the 2nd Brigade 2ID was deployed off the peninsula to Iraq in 2004.  USFK has also deployed forces to assist with natural disasters such as with the aftermath of the Asian Tsunami in 2005.  Other units have participated in deployments and exercises off the peninsula as well over the past few years.  However, with only one combat brigade on the peninsula there isn’t a whole lot of combat power on the peninsula to draw from even if the Pentagon wanted to more freely use forces stationed in South Korea.  When the Korean left talks “strategic flexibility” they are just trying to continue the narrative that the US wants to use forces stationed in Korea to attack China with and draw South Korea into a war with China.

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  • Glans
    2:54 am on February 11th, 2012 1

    Russia will attend RIMPAC 2012, along with Australia, India, Indonesia, Canada, Colombia, Republic of Korea, Malaysia, Peru, Singapore, the US, Tonga, and Japan. The naval exercise is scheduled for 29 June to 7 August near Hawaii, says AustralianDefence.

  • kangaji
    3:08 am on February 11th, 2012 2

    “Occupation force”. And I see your true colors~ shining through.

  • kangaji
    3:12 am on February 11th, 2012 3

    “Occupation force”. Like Imperialist aggressor occupation force? Seriously? Good job showing your true colors Han Kyo Reh.

  • Jinro Dukkohbi
    4:55 am on February 11th, 2012 4

    I’m pretty sure this isn’t the first time Soldiers from here have gone to support Yama Sakurs…perhaps the first time it was publicized this much…

  • Teadrinker
    5:11 am on February 11th, 2012 5

    “…there are dangerous aspects to increasing military ties with Japan from a military strategic point of view, too.”

    …Which are?

    “The US is not in a position where it can keep ignoring Japan’s wishes. ”

    …Which are?


  • Hot Stuff
    6:16 am on February 11th, 2012 6

    Some more anti-U.S. spin:

    “…sending warships to Cam Ranh Bay for the first time since its defeat in the Vietnam War in 1975″

    7:08 am on February 11th, 2012 7

    Although Camp Itami was a significant location, 8th Army wasn’t at Camp Itami, Osaka as suggested in the article. They were in Japan, but not Osaka.

    Those that were in Osaka were civilians, which I won’t mention who since I can’t find it in open source.

  • USFKisWasteofTaxDollars
    1:59 am on February 12th, 2012 8

    8th Army was at Sagami Army Depot (US Base), doing little to nothing but spending money ISO of USARPACs key annual engagement with the JGSDF.

    The Hankyoreh should just go have intercourse with itself.

  • Casanova
    2:40 am on February 12th, 2012 9

    #8, they were probably at Sagami because it is the NEO point for those being moved out of Korea in case of a war.

  • USFKisWasteofTaxDollars
    9:59 am on February 12th, 2012 10

    It didn’t have a god damn thing to with NEO. It was where the exercise was being held. The Japanese pick the locations every year. De-couple that exercise with anything to do with USFK. It didn’t have anything to do with continuing to squander tax dollars here in Korea so some sorry ****** Korean ***** wives can continue to buy cheap meat in the Commissary and rape our tax payers back in the states.

  • USFKisWasteofTaxDollars
    10:00 am on February 12th, 2012 11

    Post my comment and quit censoring me

  • Avatar of GI KoreaGI Korea
    1:29 pm on February 12th, 2012 12

    @11 – No one is censoring you. Your comment went to the spam que because of the foul language you used. I rescued your comment from the spam que and took out the curse words.

  • Casanova
    1:32 pm on February 12th, 2012 13

    #10, you are an angry dude.

  • john in CA
    12:52 am on February 13th, 2012 14

    Who care what the Korea Left thinks? These are the same folks who get votes in S Korea singing songs about how precious human rights are and yet these same folks fall all over themselves bowing down to Kim of N Korea.

    When Korea left criticizes N Korea for violating human rights, than maybe I may pay some attention to what they want to complain about.

  • Leon LaPorte
    2:01 am on February 13th, 2012 15

    The exersive rotates between Japanese bases each time. Itami, Chitose, Kumamoto, Osaka, etc. Nothing at all to do with Korea or NEO. It is strictly a US. JDSF exercise. Japan has limited US presence required for such an exercise and Korea is nearby. That is all.

    Yama Sakura (YAMA SAKURA means Mountain Cherry Blossom) is an annual, bilateral command post exercise that simulates Japanese-US military operations required to defend Japan. Yama Sakura is a computer simulated command post exercise designed to strengthen military operations and ties between the U.S. Army. and the Japan Ground Self-Defense Force. Yama Sakura is a yearly command post exercise between I Corps and the JGSDF sponsored by USARJ and the Japanese Ground Staff Office. It is I Corps’ largest and most important exercise in Japan. Every January, one of the five regional Japan Ground Self-Defense Force (JGSDF) Armies is joined by US Army I Corps to conduct the exercise in Japan and the US.

    Since their inception in 1982, these exercises have focused on the development and refinement of the Japan Self-Defense Forces (JSDF) and U.S. Army Japan (USARJ) efforts in the areas of bilateral planning, coordination, and interoperability through training. The first YAMA SAKURA was held in 1982 with a total of 570 US soldiers participating.

    Although each annual event has grown in scope, magnitude and complexity, the exercise’s mission has remained unchanged from its original mission: “To conduct a joint/bilateral command post exercise (CPX) with JSDF and U.S. forces to train for the bilateral defense of Japan.” YAMA SAKURA exercises have had four mission objectives: 1) To train U.S. ground forces for deployment to Japan, 2) Provide JSDF maximum exposure to U.S. warfighting doctrine, 3) Exercise JSDF capabilities to defend Japan, and 4) prepare USARJ/9th Theater Army Area Command (TAACOM) for its wartime mission.

    Want to learn more?
    Read this: then come back and comment. Conjecture is not required.

  • setnafa
    12:45 pm on February 13th, 2012 16

    It’s funny how the “reactionary running dogs and turtles” are now the lefty propagandists… :grin:

    It’s like some of them never moved past 1953… :razz:

  • Leon LaPorte
    3:50 pm on February 13th, 2012 17

    16. You must immerse yourself in the dialectic, comrade.

  • Glans
    11:20 pm on February 15th, 2012 18

    Leon, I think I get it. Yama Sakura is a command post exercise.

  • Leon LaPorte
    1:55 am on February 16th, 2012 19

    18. Give that man a cigar. :grin:

  • setnafa
    8:56 am on February 16th, 2012 20

    17, yes Comrade. I hereby denounce myself as a worthless counter-revolutionary tool of the bourgeoisie and capitalist whatchamacallits… I like having my own stuff… and I think communism is overrated… ;-)

  • ChickenHead
    10:04 am on February 16th, 2012 21

    “From each according to his ability, to each according to his needs.”

    …sounds like a deal to me.

    My “abilities” are rather suited to a more intimate environment… and I need some spendin’ money.

    Where do I sign up for this communism thing everybody keeps talking about?

  • setnafa
    10:22 am on February 16th, 2012 22

    Read about how well it works in North America here:

    The day they changed to private ownership of property, the danger began to disappear…

    Maybe that’s why the Left hates “Puritans”. They’re the best evidence ever!!!

  • setnafa
    10:24 am on February 16th, 2012 23

    I think the spam filter musta caught me… :roll:


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