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

Video One Year After Thai Coup, No End in Sight for Military Rule

Since carrying out the May 22, 2014 coup, the general has retired from the military but is still firmly in charge More

Video Afghan Economy Sinks As Troops Depart

Afghans are grappling with how exodus will affect country's fragile economy More

Video Scientists Say We Need Softer Robots

Today’s robots are mostly hard, rigid machines, with sharp edges and forceful movements, but researchers at Carnegie Mellon University say they should be softer and therefore safer 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.
Turkey's Main Opposition Party Hopes for Election Breakthroughi
X
May 22, 2015 10:23 AM
Turkey’s main opposition Republican People’s Party has sought an image change ahead of the June 7 general election. The move comes after suffering successive defeats at the hands of the Islamist-rooted AK Party, which has portrayed it as hostile to religion. Dorian Jones reports from the western city of Izmir.
Video

Video Turkey's Main Opposition Party Hopes for Election Breakthrough

Turkey’s main opposition Republican People’s Party has sought an image change ahead of the June 7 general election. The move comes after suffering successive defeats at the hands of the Islamist-rooted AK Party, which has portrayed it as hostile to religion. Dorian Jones reports from the western city of Izmir.
Video

Video Europe Follows US Lead in Tackling ‘Conflict Minerals’

Metals mined from conflict zones in places like the Democratic Republic of Congo are often sold by warlords to buy weapons. This week European lawmakers voted to force manufacturers to prove that their supply chains are not inadvertently fueling conflicts and human rights abuses. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video Class Tackles Questions of Race, Discrimination

Unrest in some U.S. cities is more than just a trending news item at Ladue Middle School in St. Louis, Missouri. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, it’s a focus of a multicultural studies class engaging students in wide-ranging discussions about racial tensions and police aggression.
Video

Video Mind-Controlled Prosthetics Are Getting Closer

Scientists and engineers are making substantial advances towards the ultimate goal in prosthetics – creation of limbs that can be controlled by the wearer’s mind. Thanks to sophisticated sensors capable of picking up the brain’s signals, an amputee in Iceland is literally bringing us one step closer to that goal. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Afghan Economy Sinks As Foreign Troops Depart

As international troops prepare to leave Afghanistan, and many foreign aid groups follow, Afghans are grappling with how the exodus will affect the country's fragile economy. Ayesha Tanzeem reports from the Afghan capital, Kabul.
Video

Video Poverty, Ignorance Force Underage Girls Into Marriage

The recent marriage of a 17-year old Chechen girl to a local police chief who was 30 years older and already had a wife caused an outcry in Russia and beyond. The bride was reportedly forced to marry and her parents were intimidated into giving their consent. The union spotlighted yet again the plight of many underage girls in developing countries. Zlatica Hoke reports poverty, ignorance and fear are behind the practice, especially in Asia and Africa.
Video

Video South Korea Marks Gwangju Uprising Anniversary

South Korea this week marked the 35th anniversary of a protest that turned deadly. The Gwangju Uprising is credited with starting the country’s democratic revolution after it was violently quelled by South Korea’s former military rulers. But as Jason Strother reports, some observers worry that democracy has recently been eroded.
Video

Video California’s Water System Not Created To Handle Current Drought

The drought in California is moving into its fourth year. While the state's governor is mandating a reduction in urban water use, most of the water used in California is for agriculture. But both city dwellers and farmers are feeling the impact of the drought. Some experts say the state’s water system was not created to handle long periods of drought. Elizabeth Lee reports from Ventura County, an agricultural region just northwest of Los Angeles.
Video

Video How to Clone a Mammoth: The Science of De-Extinction

An international team of scientists has sequenced the complete genome of the woolly mammoth. Led by the Swedish Museum of Natural History in Stockholm, the work opens the door to recreate the huge herbivore, which last roamed the Earth 4,000 years ago. VOA’s Rosanne Skirble considers the science of de-extinction and its place on the planet
Video

Video Blind Boy Defines His Life with Music

Cole Moran was born blind. He also has cognitive delays and other birth defects. He has to learn everything by ear. Nevertheless, the 12-year-old has had an insatiable love for music since he was born. VOA’s June Soh introduces us to the young phenomenal harmonica player.

VOA Blogs