News / Asia

South Korea Urges Tough Action Against North

While attending a security conference Friday in Singapore, South Korean President Lee Myung-bak once again called on the international community to take tough action against North Korea. Relations between the Koreas have deteriorated to a new low following a torpedo attack sank a South Korean warship in March, killing 46 sailors.

The renewed tensions were high on the agenda on the first day of the annual Asia-Pacific security forum. Addressing an audience that included defense ministers from other Asia countries, the United States and Russia, the president of South Korea Lee Myung-Bak strongly condemned North Korea for acts of military aggression.

North Korea violated the sovereignty of South Korea, said President Lee when a torpedo fired by Pyongyang in March sank the Cheonan warship.   The South Korean president called that a clear act of military provocation.

A multinational investigation team concluded that North Korea was responsible for the attack. Seoul has unilaterally cut off about half of its trade with North Korea and blocked passage of the North's ships in the South's water. North Korea has denied involvement in the attack and responded to the reprisals with threats of war.

Mr. Lee said this was not the first act of aggression by North Korea. In 1983, North Koreans attempted to assassinate the President of South Korea and in 1987, North Korean agents succeeded in detonating a bomb on a Korean Air flight, killing all 125 passengers on board, said the president. The South practiced patience and restraint in hopes of engaging the North through dialogue, he said, but now stronger measures are needed.

He says if they again tolerate North Korea's blatant act of violence, it will not promote peace, but it will endanger the stability of the Korean Peninsula and of Northeast Asia. President Lee pressed for strong international action -- not just to punish North Korea for its recent aggression but to also persuade them to end its nuclear development program.

Also at the conference, United States Defense Secretary Robert Gates met with his South Korean counterpart Kim Tae-young to show solidarity and discuss plans for possible joint military exercises.

"We obviously very strongly support an international approach to the investigation and want to reassure you and the people of the Republic of Korea that you have the full support back in the United States," said Secretary Gates.

Provocation has long been part of North Korea's survival strategy, according to security analyst Adam Ward with the International Institute for Strategic Studies.  Ward said the leadership in particular has used the threat of its nuclear program to extract concessions such as food assistance and development. But this last provocation, said Ward, may have pushed South Korea too far.

"I think the balance must now favor deterrence and containment over engagement as a result of this episode. It will certainly make it more difficult for those people in South Korea, for instance, to have made the argument that what you need is a sunshine policy of constant engagement of interaction, of assistance, as providing the basis over the long term of regime change or at least a security against any form of explicit hostility" Ward said.

But he adds that employing a deterrence-only based policy against North Korea will not work either. Despite the tragic loss of life in the attack of the South Korean ship, he said, the international community must try to reduce tensions with North Korea to avoid the possibility of war.

North and South Korea are still technically at war because the Korean War ended in 1953 with an armistice, not a peace treaty.

You May Like

Turkey: No Ransom Paid for Release of Hostages Held by IS Militants

President Erdogan hails release of hostages as diplomatic success but declines to be drawn on whether their release freed Ankara's hand to take more active stance against insurgents More

Audio Sierra Leone Ends Ebola Lockdown

Health ministry says it has reached 75 percent of its target of visiting 1.5 million homes to locate infected, educate population about virus More

US Pivot to Asia Demands Delicate Balancing Act

As tumult in Middle East distracts Obama administration, efforts to shift American focus eastward appear threatened 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.
Natural Gas Export Plan Divides Maryland Towni
X
Deborah Block
September 21, 2014 2:12 PM
A U.S. power company that has been importing natural gas now wants to export it. If approved, its plant in Lusby, Maryland, would likely be the first terminal on the United States East Coast to export liquefied natural gas from American pipelines. While some residents welcome the move because it will create jobs, others oppose it, saying the expansion could be a safety and environmental hazard. VOA’s Deborah Block examines the controversy.
Video

Video Natural Gas Export Plan Divides Maryland Town

A U.S. power company that has been importing natural gas now wants to export it. If approved, its plant in Lusby, Maryland, would likely be the first terminal on the United States East Coast to export liquefied natural gas from American pipelines. While some residents welcome the move because it will create jobs, others oppose it, saying the expansion could be a safety and environmental hazard. VOA’s Deborah Block examines the controversy.
Video

Video Difficult Tactical Battle Ahead Against IS Militants in Syria

The U.S. president has ordered the military to intensify its fight against the Islamic State, including in Syria. But how does the military conduct air strikes in a country that is not a U.S. ally? VOA correspondent Carla Babb reports from the Pentagon.
Video

Video Iran, World Powers Seek Progress in Nuclear Talks

Iran and the five permanent members of the U.N. Security Council plus Germany, known as the P5 + 1, have started a new round of talks on Iran's nuclear program. VOA State Department correspondent Pam Dockins reports that as the negotiations take place in New York, a U.S. envoy is questioning Iran's commitment to peaceful nuclear activity.
Video

Video Alibaba Shares Soar in First Day of Trading

China's biggest online retailer hit the market Friday -- with its share price soaring on the New York Stock Exchange. The shares were priced at $68, but trading stalled at the opening, as sellers held onto their shares, waiting for buyers to bid up the price. More on the world's biggest initial public offering from VOA’s Bernard Shusman in New York.
Video

Video Obama Goes to UN With Islamic State, Ebola on Agenda

President Obama goes to the United Nations General Assembly to rally nations to support a coalition against Islamic State militants in Iraq and Syria. He also will look for nations to back his plan to fight the Ebola virus in West Africa. As VOA White House correspondent Luis Ramirez reports, Obama’s efforts reflect new moves by the U.S. administration to take a leading role in addressing world crises.
Video

Video Migrants Caught in No-Man's Land Called Calais

The deaths of hundreds of migrants in the Mediterranean this week has only recast the spotlight on the perils of reaching Europe. And for those forunate enough to reach a place like Calais, France, only find that their problems aren't over. Lisa Bryant has the story.
Video

Video Westgate Siege Anniversary Brings Back Painful Memories

One year after it happened, the survivors of the terror attack on Nairobi's Westgate Shopping Mall still cannot shake the images of that tragic incident. For VOA, Mohammed Yusuf tells the story of victims still waiting for the answer to the question 'how could this happen?'
Video

Video Militant Assault in Syria Displaces Thousands of Kurds

A major assault by Islamic State militants on Kurds in Syria has sent a wave of new refugees to the Turkish border, where they were stopped by Turkish border security. Turkey is already hosting about 700,000 Syrian refugees who fled the civil war between the government and the opposition. But the government in Ankara has a history of strained relations with Turkey's Kurdish minority. Zlatica Hoke reports Turkey is asking for international help.
Video

Video Whaling Summit Votes to Uphold Ban on Japan Whale Hunt

The International Whaling Commission, meeting in Slovenia, has voted to uphold a court ruling banning Japan from hunting whales in the Antarctic Ocean. Conservationists hailed the ruling as a victory, but Tokyo says it will submit revised plans for a whale hunt in 2015. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video A Dinosaur Fit for Land and Water

Residents and tourists in Washington D.C. can now examine a life-size replica of an unusual dinosaur that lived almost a hundred million years ago in northern Africa. Scientists say studying the behemoth named Spinosaurus helps them better understand how some prehistoric animals adapted to life on land and in water. The Spinosaurus replica is on display at the National Geographic museum. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Iraqi Kurdistan Church Helps Christian Children Cope find shelter in churches in the Kurdish capital, Irbil

In the past six weeks, tens of thousands of Iraqi Christians have been forced to flee their homes by Islamic State militants and find shelter in churches in the Kurdish capital, Irbil. Despite U.S. airstrikes in the region, the prospect of people returning home is still very low and concerns are starting to grow over the impact this is having on the displaced youth. Sebastian Meyer reports from Irbil on how one church is coping.


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