News / Asia

N. Korea Talks Tough After South Halts Trade

In some of the harshest language used by Seoul in decades, South Korea's president has outlined plans to hold North Korea accountable for a deadly naval attack. In response, North Korea said Monday it would fire shots at loudspeakers South Korea plans to set up near the tense inter-Korean border.

The resumption of loudspeaker broadcasts across the border is one of many steps South Korea's government announced, on a day that began with stern words toward the North by President Lee Myung-bak. Mr. Lee says South Korea has always tolerated North Korea's brutality, time and again.  But now, he said, things are different, adding that North Korea will pay a price for its provocative acts.

For decades after the Korean War in the early 1950s, North and South Korea bombarded each other with propaganda broadcasts across the Demilitarized Zone that divides them. The broadcasts ended six years ago, as a result of South Korea's policy then of trying to engage with Pyongyang.

The latest tensions were sparked when 46 South Korean sailors were killed in March after an explosion ripped their patrol ship in half, near a border disputed by North Korea. A multinational team presented extensive evidence last week concluding a North Korean submarine fired a torpedo at the ship. Pyongyang calls the findings a "fabrication."

In a nationally televised address, President Lee said key areas of cooperation will be severed.
He said all inter-Korean trade and exchanges are coming to a halt. In addition, North Korean vessels will no longer be allowed the privilege of passage through South Korean waters.

President Lee says South Korea's military will take immediate measures to defend the country if the North encroaches on its territory. However, he emphasized the South is not seeking armed conflict with North Korea.

President Lee says minimal humanitarian aid to the impoverished North will continue.

Key security-related ministers held a rare joint news conference to spell out further steps. Defense Minister Kim Tae-young vowed South Korea would resume "psychological warfare" toward the North, and promised new military cooperation with the United States. Kim also said South Korea and the United States will hold a joint anti-submarine warfare drill. The finest U.S. and South Korean forces will participate, to improve defenses against the North's naval capabilities.

Other steps were announced by South Korea's Unification Minister Hyun In-taek, who said Seoul will take steps to rein in North-South business. He says South Koreans will be barred from visiting the North, and Seoul will curtail unnecessary interaction.  He adds Seoul will ban new investment in the North, and halt government support for North Korea as a matter of principle. 

South Korea plans to take its case to the United Nations Security Council to seek new sanctions against Pyongyang.

President Obama says Washington fully backs South Korea in its response to the ship sinking.  He has ordered the U.S. military to "work closely with South Korea to ensure readiness and deter future aggression." U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton echoed the president's words during talks with Chinese officials in Beijing Monday, sauing the U.S. and South Korea are in close consultations on the North Korea situation.

Clinton said she is having very intensive discussions with the Chinese government on the issue, but would only say that Beijing recognizes the "gravity" of the situation and understands South Korea's reaction.

You May Like

ASEAN Ministers Set to Push for South China Sea Agreements

According to documents obtained by VOA Khmer, ministers will stand up for 'freedom of navigation, unimpeded lawful maritime commerce, trade and over flight' More

Puerto Rico Defaults on $58M Debt Payment

Payment was due Saturday, default is first in country's 117 years as a United States possession More

Turkish Public Fears Jihadists More Than Kurds

Turkey facing twin threats of terrorism by Islamic State and PKK Kurdish separatists, says President Erdogan’s ruling AK Party More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Iraqi Yazidis Fear Death of Their Communityi
X
Sharon Behn
August 03, 2015 2:23 PM
A year ago on August 3, Islamic State militants stormed the homelands of Iraq’s Yazidi minority, killing hundreds of men and enslaving thousands of women. The scenes of desperate Yazidi families crowding on the top of Sinjar mountain without food or water spurred Kurdish fighters into action, an emergency airlift and the start of the U.S. airstrike campaign against the Islamic State Sunni extremists. VOA's Sharon Benh reports from northern Iraq.
Video

Video Iraqi Yazidis Fear Death of Their Community

A year ago on August 3, Islamic State militants stormed the homelands of Iraq’s Yazidi minority, killing hundreds of men and enslaving thousands of women. The scenes of desperate Yazidi families crowding on the top of Sinjar mountain without food or water spurred Kurdish fighters into action, an emergency airlift and the start of the U.S. airstrike campaign against the Islamic State Sunni extremists. VOA's Sharon Benh reports from northern Iraq.
Video

Video Bangkok Warned It Soon Could Be Submerged

Italy's Venice and America's New Orleans are not the only cities gradually submerging. The nearly ten million residents of the Bangkok urban area now must confront warnings the city could become uninhabitable in a few decades. VOA Correspondent Steve Herman reports from the Thai capital.
Video

Video Inclusive Gym Gets People With Disabilities in Fitness Spirit

Individuals with special needs are 58 percent more likely to be obese than the general population. According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control, they also have an increased likelihood of anxiety, depression and social isolation. But a sports club outside Washington wants to make a difference in these people's lives. With Carol Pearson narrating, VOA's June Soh reports.
Video

Video Astronauts Train Underwater for Deep Space Missions

Manned deep space missions are still a long way off, but space agencies are already testing procedures, equipment and human stamina for operations in extreme environment conditions. Small groups of astronauts take turns in spending days in an underwater lab, off Florida’s southern coast, simulating future missions to some remote world. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Special Olympics Show Competitors' Skill, Determination

Special Olympics competitions will wrap up Saturday in Los Angeles, and the closing ceremony for athletes with intellectual disabilities will be held Sunday night. In a week of competition, athletes have shown what they can do through skill and determination. VOA's Mike O'Sullivan reports.
Video

Video Civil Rights Leaders Struggled to Achieve Voting Rights Act

Fifty years ago, lawmakers approved, and U.S. President Lyndon Johnson signed, the Voting Rights Act of 1965. The measure outlawed racial discrimination in voting, giving millions of blacks in many parts of the southern United States federal enforcement of the right to vote. Correspondent Chris Simkins introduces us to some civil rights leaders who were on the front lines in the struggle for voting rights.
Video

Video Shooter’s Grill: Serving Food with a Touch of the Second Amendment

Shooter's Grill, a restaurant in Rifle, Colorado, attracts visitors from all over the world as well as local patrons. The reason? Waitresses openly carry loaded firearms as they serve food, and customers are welcome to carry them, too. VOA's Enming Liu and Lin Yang paid a visit to Shooter's Grill, and heard different opinions about this unique establishment.
Video

Video Despite Controversy, Business Owner Continues Sale of Confederate Flags

At Cooter’s, a store in rural Sperryville, Virginia, about 120 kilometers west of Washington, D.C., Confederate flags are flying off the shelves. The red, white and blue battle flag, with 13 white stars representing the Confederate states, was carried by southern forces during the U.S. Civil War in the 1860s. The South had seceded from the Union over several key issues of disagreement, including slavery. VOA’s Deborah Block has the story.
Video

Video Booming London Property a ‘Haven for Dirty Money’

Billions of dollars of so-called ‘dirty money’ from the proceeds of crime - especially from Russia - are being laundered through the London property market, according to anti-corruption activists. As Henry Ridgwell reports from the British capital, the government has pledged to crack down on the practice.
Video

Video Hometown of Boy Scouts of America Founder Reacts to Gay Leader Decision

Ottawa, Illinois, is the hometown of W.D. Boyce, who founded the Boy Scouts of America in 1910. In Ottawa, where Scouting remains an important part of the legacy of the community, the end of the organization's ban on openly gay adult leaders was seen as inevitable. VOA's Kane Farabaugh reports.

VOA Blogs