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

N. Korea Sentences American to 6 Years Hard Labor

Matthew Miller's brief trial Sunday comes two weeks after 24-year old Miller and two other American detainees appealed to the US government to help free them More

Pakistan Rejects Afghan Criticism of 480-kilometer Border Trench

Military spokesman tells VOA the project is part of administrative and security measures taken to secure the mountainous border with Afghanistan More

Photogallery Typhoon Kalmaegi Makes Landfall in Philippines

Storm makes landfall late Sunday, cutting power and communications lines and forcing people to flee to higher ground 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.
Scotland Independence Bid Stokes Global Interesti
X
Henry Ridgwell
September 12, 2014 8:35 PM
The people of Scotland are preparing to vote on whether to become independent and break away from the rest of Britain, in a referendum being watched carefully in many other countries. Some see it as a risky experiment; while others hope a successful vote for independence might energize their own separatist demands. Foreign immigrants to Scotland have a front row seat for the vote. VOA’s Henry Ridgwell spoke to some of them in Edinburgh.
Video

Video Scotland Independence Bid Stokes Global Interest

The people of Scotland are preparing to vote on whether to become independent and break away from the rest of Britain, in a referendum being watched carefully in many other countries. Some see it as a risky experiment; while others hope a successful vote for independence might energize their own separatist demands. Foreign immigrants to Scotland have a front row seat for the vote. VOA’s Henry Ridgwell spoke to some of them in Edinburgh.
Video

Video Washington DC Mural Artists Help Beautify City

Like many cities, Washington has a graffiti problem. Buildings and homes, especially in low-income neighborhoods, are often targets of illegal artwork. But as we hear from VOA’s Julie Taboh, officials in the nation's capital have come up with an innovative program that uses the talents of local artists to beautify the city.
Video

Video Palestinians Turn to Rebuilding Gaza

After almost two months of conflict in Gaza, Palestinians are preparing to rebuild the isolated Mediterranean enclave with assistance from abroad. Meanwhile, an international human rights group has found that Israel likely violated international laws of war during some of its attacks on Gaza. Zlatica Hoke has more.
Video

Video US Muslim Leaders Condemn Islamic State

Leaders of America's Muslim community are condemning the violent extremism of the Islamic State group in Iraq and Syria. The U.S. Muslim leaders say militants are exploiting their faith in a failed effort to justify violent extremism. VOA correspondent Meredith Buel reports.
Video

Video Middle Eastern Church Leaders Highlight Christians’ Plight

Patriarchs of Eastern Rite churches came to Washington this week to draw attention to the attacks against Christians in Syria, Iraq and elsewhere in the Middle East. VOA’s religion correspondent Jerome Socolovsky has more.
Video

Video Americans' Reaction Mixed on Obama Strategy for Islamic State Militants

President Barack Obama’s televised speech on how the United States plans to “degrade and destroy” the group known as the Islamic State reached a prime-time audience of millions. And it came as Americans appear more willing to embrace a bolder, tougher approach to foreign policy. VOA producer Katherine Gypson and reporter Jeff Seldin have this report from Washington.
Video

Video Authorities Allege LA Fashion Industry-Cartel Ties

U.S. officials say they have broken up crime rings that funneled tens of millions of dollars from Mexican drug cartels through fashion businesses in Los Angeles. Mike O'Sullivan reports that authorities announced nine arrests, as 1,000 law enforcement agents fanned out through the city on Wednesday.
Video

Video Bedouin Woman Runs Successful Business in Palestinian City

A Bedouin woman is breaking social taboos by running a successful vacation resort in the Palestinian town of Jericho. Bedouins are a sub-group of Arabs known for their semi-nomadic lifestyle. Zlatica Hoke says the resort in the West Bank's Jordan Valley is a model of success for women in the region.


Carnage and mayhem are part of daily life in northern Nigeria, the result of a terror campaign by the Islamist group Boko Haram. Fears are growing that Nigeria’s government may not know how to counter it, and may be making things worse. More

AppleAndroid