News / Asia

South Korea Defends Maritime Raid on Pirates

South Koreans watch a TV breaking news about South Korean navy military operation against Somali pirates in the Indian Ocean in Seoul, 21 Jan 2011
South Koreans watch a TV breaking news about South Korean navy military operation against Somali pirates in the Indian Ocean in Seoul, 21 Jan 2011

South Korea is defending its use of force to free sailors on its ships held by pirates.

South Korean Foreign Minister Kim Sung Hwan is brushing off concern from some quarters, including European naval forces, that taking military action against pirates endangers kidnapped mariners.

Kim says he does not agree with such criticism.

The foreign minister tells reporters that when South Korean ships and crews are seized, Seoul will consider rescue operations to free them.

Both South Korea and Malaysia in separate actions last Friday rescued sailors held by pirates.

South Korean navy commandos freed 21 sailors and killed a number of pirates in the Arabian Sea. Five pirates were captured.

The Defense Ministry on Tuesday backed away from the idea of swapping the captured Somali pirates for the 44 crew members of a South Korea fishing trawler. Pirates seized the boat last October in Kenyan waters.

Defense Minister Kim Wan-jin on Tuesday told lawmakers it would be a "great idea" to try to conduct such an exchange. However South Korea’s government says it maintains a policy of not negotiating with pirates.

The foreign minister says the government is considering bringing the captured pirates to this country to face trial.

Foreign Minister Kim says when South Koreans are attacked and hurt, the nation has a sovereign right to prosecute the perpetrators.

Last Friday’s rescue of the crew of the chemical tanker Samho Jewelry took place 1,300 kilometers northeast of Somalia.

A United Nations report  to be debated by the Security Council Tuesday says pirate raids cost countries and the shipping industry $7 billion annually, including ransoms paid. It calls for increased security and establishing a U.N.-backed international court to try piracy cases.

The unprecedented South Korean rescue, involving one of its destroyers, a helicopter and an Omani patrol ship, came after domestic criticism that paying ransom would encourage pirates to target South Korean vessels.

Malaysia’s navy conducted a similar mission, taking back a chemical tanker from Somali kidnappers in the Gulf of Aden. All 23 members of the crew of the MT Bunga Laurel were freed and seven pirates were captured.

The European Union Naval Force, with four ships on patrol off the Horn of Africa, says it will not conduct rescue actions because they could put hostages in worse peril.

John Burnett, author of Dangerous Waters, a book that looks at modern piracy, has mixed views on that stance.

"That may be the only way that piracy can be curbed at this point because nothing else has been done to put an end to it," he said. "However, I'm sure that there's a lot of nervous sailors out there, at this point, who are going through the Gulf of Aden and are worried, whether or not, if they do get attacked there's going to be some commando raid that will put their lives in jeopardy."

There have been reports that Somali pirates are threatening to target South Korean ships and kill their crews in revenge for Friday’s raid. But Burnett says when pirates seize vessels they usually do not know where they or their crews originate.

International maritime agencies say pirates in Somalia hold more than 25 ships and 600 people hostage.

You May Like

Could Nemtsov Threaten Putin in Death as in Life?

Dynamic and debonair opposition leader had supported liberal economic reforms, criticized Russian president's aggression in Ukraine More

Oil Smuggling Highlights Challenges in Shutting Down IS Finances

Pentagon spokesman says Islamic State 'certainly continues to get revenue from the oil industry black market' but that airstrikes have made a dent More

India Focuses on Infrastructure, Investment to Propel Economy

Government expects economy to grow at 8 to 8.5 percent in next fiscal year 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.
US Supreme Court Hears Hijab Discrimination Casei
X
Katherine Gypson
February 25, 2015 11:30 PM
The U.S. Supreme Court has heard opening arguments in a workplace religious discrimination case that examines whether a clothing store can refuse to hire a young woman for wearing the headscarf she says is a symbol of her Muslim faith. Katherine Gypson reports from the Supreme Court.
Video

Video US Supreme Court Hears Hijab Discrimination Case

The U.S. Supreme Court has heard opening arguments in a workplace religious discrimination case that examines whether a clothing store can refuse to hire a young woman for wearing the headscarf she says is a symbol of her Muslim faith. Katherine Gypson reports from the Supreme Court.
Video

Video Falling Gas Prices Hurt Nascent Illinois Hydraulic Fracturing Industry

Falling oil prices are helping consumers purchase cheaper petroleum at the pump. But that’s made hydraulic fracturing or “fracking” less economically viable for the companies in the United States invested in the process. VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports on one Midwestern town that was hoping to change its fortunes by cashing in on the next big U.S. oil boom.
Video

Video Fighting in Sudan's South Kordofan Fuels Mass Displacement

Heavy fighting in Sudan's South Kordofan state is causing hundreds of thousands to flee into uncertain conditions. Local aid organizations estimate as many as 400,000 civilians have been internally displaced since the conflict began more than three years ago, while another 250,000 have fled across the border to refugee camps in South Sudan. VOA's Adam Bailes reports.
Video

Video Lao Dam Project Runs Into Opposition

A Lao dam project on a section of the Mekong River is drawing opposition from local fishermen, international environmental groups and neighboring countries. VOA's Say Mony visited the region to investigate the concerns. Colin Lovett narrates.
Video

Video A Filmmaker Discovers Her Biracial Identity in "Little White Lie

Lacey Schwartz grew up in an upper middle-class Jewish family, in a town in upstate New York where almost everyone she knew was white. She assumed that she was, as well. Her recent documentary, Little White Lie, tells the story of how she uncovered the secret of her true racial background. VOA’s Carolyn Weaver has more on the film.
Video

Video Deep Under Antarctic Ice Sheet, Life!

With the end of summer in the Southern hemisphere, the Antarctic research season is over. Scientists from Northern Illinois University are back in their laboratory after a 3-month expedition on the Ross Ice Shelf, the world’s largest floating ice sheet. As VOA’s Rosanne Skirble reports, they hope to find clues to explain the dynamics of the rapidly melting ice and its impact on sea level rise.
Video

Video US-Cuba Normalization Talks Resume Friday

Negotiations aimed at normalizing diplomatic relations between the U.S. and Cuba resume Friday. On the table: lifting a half-century trade embargo and easing banking and travel restrictions. There's opposition in Congress, but some analysts say there may be sufficient political and economic incentives in both nations for a potential breakthrough this year. VOA's Mil Arcega reports.
Video

Video Pakistan's Deadline For SIM Registration Has Cellphone Users Scrambling

Pakistani cell phone users have until midnight Thursday to register their SIM cards, or their service will be cut off. While some privacy experts worry about government intrusion, many Pakistanis are just worried about keeping their phone lines open. VOA Deewa reporter Arshad Muhmand has more from Peshawar.
Video

Video Myanmar Warns Factory Workers to End Strikes

Outside Myanmar's main city Yangon, thousands of workers walked off their jobs earlier this month demanding a doubling of their wages, pay raises after a year and input from labor unions on industrial regulations. Since Friday, the standoff has grown more tense as police moved in to disrupt the sit-ins, resulting in clashes that injured people from both sides. VOA correspondent Steve Herman visited industrial zones which have become a focus of Myanmar's fledgling workers rights movement.
Video

Video Oscar Winners Do More Than Thank the Academy

The Academy Awards presentation is Hollywood’s night to reward the best movies from the previous year. It’s typically a lot of glitter, a lot of thank you’s, a lot of speeches. But many of this year’s speeches carried messages beyond the thank you's. VOA’s Carolyn Presutti takes a look.

All About America

Circumventing Censorship

An Internet Primer for Healthy Web Habits

As surveillance and censoring technologies advance, so, too, do new tools for your computer or mobile device that help protect your privacy and break through Internet censorship.
More