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

HRW: Egypt's Trial of Morsi ‘Badly Flawed’

Human Rights Watch says former Egypt leader's detention without charge for more than three weeks after his removal from office violated Egyptian law; government rejects criticism More

Photogallery Lancet Report Calls for Major Investment in Surgery

In its report published by The Lancet, panel of experts says people are dying from conditions easily treated in the operating room such as hernia, appendicitis, obstructed labor, and serious fractures More

Music Industry Under Sway of Digital Revolution

Millions of people in every corner of the Earth now can enjoy a vast variety and quantity of music in a way that has never before been possible 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.
Study: Insecticide Damaging Wild Bee Populationsi
X
April 24, 2015 10:13 PM
A popular but controversial type of insecticide is damaging important wild bee populations, according to a new study. VOA’s Steve Baragona has more.
Video

Video Study: Insecticide Damaging Wild Bee Populations

A popular but controversial type of insecticide is damaging important wild bee populations, according to a new study. VOA’s Steve Baragona has more.
Video

Video Data Servers Could Heat Private Homes

As every computer owner knows, when their machines run a complex program they get pretty hot. In fact, cooling the processors can be expensive, especially when you're dealing with huge banks of computer servers. But what if that energy could heat private homes? VOA’s George Putic reports that a Dutch energy firm aims to do just that.
Video

Video Cinema That Crosses Borders Showcased at Tribeca Film Festival

Among the nearly 100 feature length films being shown at this year’s Tribeca Film Festival in New York City are more than 20 documentaries and features with international appeal, from a film about a Congolese businessman in China, to documentaries shot in Pakistan and diaspora communities in the U.S., to a poetic look at disaffected South African youth. VOA’s Carolyn Weaver has more.
Video

Video UN Confronts Threat of Young Radicals

The radicalization and recruitment of young people into Islamist extremist groups has become a growing challenge for governments worldwide. On Thursday, the U.N. Security Council heard from experts on the issue, which has become a potent threat to international peace and security. VOA’s Margaret Besheer reports.
Video

Video Growing Numbers of Turks Discover Armenian Ancestry

In a climate of improved tolerance, growing numbers of people in Turkey are discovering their grandmothers were Armenian. Hundreds of thousands of Armenians escaped the mass deportations and slaughter of the early 1900's by forced conversion to Islam. Or, Armenian children were taken in by Turkish families and assimilated. Now their stories are increasingly being heard. Dorian Jones reports from Istanbul that the revelations are viewed as an important step.
Video

Video Migrants Trek Through Western Balkans to Reach EU

Migrants from Africa and other places are finding different routes into the European Union in search of a better life. The Associated Press followed one clandestine group to document their trek through the western Balkans to Hungary. Zlatica Hoke reports that the migrants started using that route about four years ago. Since then, it has become the second-most popular path into Western Europe, after the option of sailing from North Africa to Italy.
Video

Video TIME Magazine Honors Activists, Pioneers Seen as Influential

TIME Magazine has released its list of celebrities, leaders and activists, whom it deems the world’s “most influential” in 2015. VOA's Ramon Taylor reports from New York.
Video

Video US Businesses See Cuba as New Frontier

The Obama administration's opening toward Cuba is giving U.S. companies hope they'll be able to do business in Cuba despite the continuation of the U.S. economic embargo against the communist nation. Some American companies have been able to export some products to Cuba, but the recent lifting of Cuba's terrorism designation could relax other restrictions. As VOA's Daniela Schrier reports, corporate heavy hitters are lining up to head across the Florida Straits - though experts urge caution.
Video

Video Kenya Launches Police Recruitment Drive After Terror Attacks

Kenya launched a major police recruitment drive this week as part of a large-scale effort to boost security following a recent spate of terror attacks. VOA’s Gabe Joselow reports that allegations of corruption in the process are raising old concerns about the integrity of Kenya’s security forces.
Video

Video Japan, China in Race for Asia High-Speed Rail Projects

A lucrative competition is underway in Asia for billions of dollars in high-speed rail projects. Cambodia, India, Indonesia, Malaysia Thailand and Vietnam are among the countries planning to move onto the fast track. They are negotiating with Japan and the upstart Chinese who are locked in a duel to revolutionize transportation across Asia. VOA Correspondent Steve Herman in Bangkok has details.
Video

Video Scientists: Mosquitoes Attracted By Our Genes

Some people always seem to get bitten by mosquitoes more than others. Now, scientists have proved that is really the case - and they say it’s all because of genes. It’s hoped the research might lead to new preventative treatments for diseases like malaria, as Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video Bible Museum Coming to Washington DC

Washington is the center of American political power and also home to some of the nation’s most visited museums. A new one that will showcase the Bible has skeptics questioning the motives of its conservative Christian funders. VOA religion correspondent Jerome Socolovsky reports.
Video

Video Armenia and Politics of Word 'Genocide'

A century ago this April, hundreds of thousands of Armenians of the Turkish Ottoman empire were deported and massacred, and their culture erased from their traditional lands. While broadly accepted by the U.N. and at least 20 countries as “genocide”, the United States and Turkey have resisted using that word to describe the atrocities that stretched from 1915 to 1923. But Armenians have never forgotten.
Video

Video Afghan First Lady Pledges No Roll Back on Women's Rights

Afghan First Lady Rula Ghani, named one of Time's 100 Most Influential, says women should take part in talks with Taliban. VOA's Rokhsar Azamee has more from Kabul.
Video

Video New Brain Mapping Techniques Could Ease Chronic Pain

From Boulder, Colorado, Shelley Schlender reports that new methods for mapping pain in the brain are providing validation for chronic pain and might someday guide better treatment.

VOA Blogs