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

    Rolling Thunder Rolls Into Washington

    Half-million motorcycles are expected to rumble Sunday afternoon from Pentagon to Vietnam War Memorial for rally in event group calls Ride for Freedom

    The Struggle With Painkillers: Treating Pain Without Feeding Addiction

    'Wonder drug' pain medications have turned out to be major problem: not only do they run high risk of addicting the user, but they can actually make patients' chronic pain worse, US CDC says

    Video Canine Reading Buddies Help Students With Literacy

    Idea behind reading program is that sharing book with nonjudgmental companion boosts students' confidence and helps instill love of reading

    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.
    Chinese-Americans Heart Trump, Bucking National Trendi
    X
    May 27, 2016 5:57 AM
    A new study conducted by three Asian-American organizations shows there are three times as many Democrats as there are Republicans among Asian-American voters, and they favor Hillary Clinton over Donald Trump. But one group, called Chinese-Americans For Trump, is going against the tide and strongly supports the business tycoon. VOA’s Elizabeth Lee caught up with them at a Trump rally and reports from Anaheim, California.
    Video

    Video Chinese-Americans Heart Trump, Bucking National Trend

    A new study conducted by three Asian-American organizations shows there are three times as many Democrats as there are Republicans among Asian-American voters, and they favor Hillary Clinton over Donald Trump. But one group, called Chinese-Americans For Trump, is going against the tide and strongly supports the business tycoon. VOA’s Elizabeth Lee caught up with them at a Trump rally and reports from Anaheim, California.
    Video

    Video Reactions to Trump's Success Polarized Abroad

    What seemed impossible less than a year ago is now almost a certainty. New York real estate mogul Donald Trump has won the number of delegates needed to secure the Republican presidential nomination. The prospect has sparked as much controversy abroad as it has in the United States. Zlatica Hoke has more.
    Video

    Video Drawings by Children in Hiroshima Show Hope and Peace

    On Friday, President Barack Obama will visit Hiroshima, Japan, the first American president to do so while in office. In August 1945, the United States dropped an atomic bomb on the city to force Japan's surrender in World War II. Although their city lay in ruins, some Hiroshima schoolchildren drew pictures of hope and peace. The former students and their drawings are now part of a documentary called “Pictures from a Hiroshima Schoolyard.” VOA's Deborah Block has the story.
    Video

    Video Vietnamese Rapper Performs for Obama

    A prominent young Vietnamese artist told President Obama said she faced roadblocks as a woman rapper, and asked the president about government support for the arts. He asked her to rap, and he even offered to provide a base beat for her. Watch what happened.
    Video

    Video Roots Run Deep for Tunisia's Dwindling Jewish Community

    This week, hundreds of Jewish pilgrims are defying terrorist threats to celebrate an ancient religious festival on the Tunisian island of Djerba. The festivities cast a spotlight on North Africa's once-vibrant Jewish population that has all but died out in recent decades. Despite rising threats of militant Islam and the country's battered economy, one of the Arab world's last Jewish communities is staying put and nurturing a new generation. VOA’s Lisa Bryant reports.
    Video

    Video Meet Your New Co-Worker: The Robot

    Increasing numbers of robots are joining the workforce, as companies scale back and more processes become automated. The latest robots are flexible and collaborative, built to work alongside humans as opposed to replacing them. VOA’s Tina Trinh looks at the next generation of automated employees helping out their human colleagues.
    Video

    Video Wheelchair Technology in Tune With Times

    Technologies for the disabled, including wheelchair technology, are advancing just as quickly as everything else in the digital age. Two new advances in wheelchairs offer improved control and a more comfortable fit. VOA's George Putic reports.
    Video

    Video Baby Boxes Offer Safe Haven for Unwanted Children

    No one knows exactly how many babies are abandoned worldwide each year. The statistic is a difficult one to determine because it is illegal in most places. Therefore unwanted babies are often hidden and left to die. But as Erika Celeste reports from Woodburn, Indiana, a new program hopes to make surrendering infants safer for everyone.
    Video

    Video California Celebration Showcases Local Wines, Balloons

    Communities in the U.S. often hold festivals to show what makes them special. In California, for example, farmers near Fresno celebrate their figs and those around Gilmore showcase their garlic. Mike O'Sullivan reports that the wine-producing region of Temecula offers local vintages in an annual festival where rides on hot-air balloons add to the excitement.
    Video

    Video US Elementary School Offers Living Science Lessons

    Zero is not a good score on a test at school. But Discovery Elementary is proud of its “net zero” rating. Net zero describes a building in which the amount of energy provided by on-site renewable sources equals the amount of energy the building uses. As Faiza Elmasry tells us, the innovative features in the building turn the school into a teaching tool, where kids can't help but learn about science and sustainability. Faith Lapidus narrates.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora