News / Asia

South Korea Urges Tough Action Against North

TEXT SIZE - +

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

Abuja Blast Impacts Lives, Livelihoods

Officials say they are looking at ways to help bombing victims and boosting security More

Cambodia Technology Adviser Criticizes Cybercrime Draft Law

Phu Leewood says current criminal code can be used to prosecute offenders and that there is no need for a separate law More

Photogallery A Year Later, Boston Remembers Deadly Marathon Bombings

City pauses to honor victims and salute emergency workers who came to their assistance in frantic moments after blasts 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.
Google Buys Drone Companyi
|| 0:00:00
...
 
🔇
X
George Putic
April 15, 2014
In its latest purchase of high-tech companies, Google has acquired a manufacturer of solar-powered drones that can stay in the air almost indefinitely, relaying broadband Internet connection to remote areas. It is seen as yet another step in the U.S. based Web giant’s bid to bring Internet to the whole world. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Google Buys Drone Company

In its latest purchase of high-tech companies, Google has acquired a manufacturer of solar-powered drones that can stay in the air almost indefinitely, relaying broadband Internet connection to remote areas. It is seen as yet another step in the U.S. based Web giant’s bid to bring Internet to the whole world. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Ray Bonneville Sings the Blues and More on New CD

Singer/songwriter Ray Bonneville has released a new CD called “Easy Gone” with music that reflects his musical and personal journey from French-speaking Canada to his current home in Austin,Texas. The eclectic artist’s fan base extends from Texas to various parts of North America and Europe. VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from Austin.
Video

Video Millions Labor in Pakistan's Informal Economy

The World Bank says that in Pakistan, roughly 70 percent work in the so-called informal sector, a part of the economy that is unregulated and untaxed. VOA's Sharon Behn reports from Islamabad on how the informal sector impact's the Pakistani economy.
Video

Video Passover Celebrates Liberation from Bondage

Jewish people around the world are celebrating Passover, a commemoration of their liberation from slavery in Egypt more than 3,300 years ago. According to scripture, God helped the Jews, led by Moses, escape bondage in Egypt and cross the Red Sea into the desert. Zlatica Hoke reports that the story of the Jewish Exodus resonates with other people trying to escape slave-like conditions.
Video

Video Police Pursue Hate Crime Charges Against Kansas Shooting Suspect

Prosecutors are sifting through the evidence in the wake of Sunday’s shootings in a suburb of Kansas City, Missouri that left three people dead. A suspect in the shootings taken into custody is a white supremacist. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, he was well-known to law enforcement agencies and human rights groups alike.
Video

Video In Eastern Ukraine, Pro-unity Activists Emerge from Shadows

Amid the pro-Russian uprisings in eastern Ukraine, there is a large body of activists who support Ukrainian unity and reject Russian intervention. Their activities have remained largely underground, but they are preparing to take on their pro-Moscow opponents, as Henry Ridgwell reports from the eastern city of Donetsk.
Video

Video Basket Maker’s Skills Have World Reach

A prestigious craft show in the U.S. capital offers one-of-a-kind creations by more than 120 artists working in a variety of media. As VOA’s Julie Taboh reports from Washington, one artist lucky enough to be selected says sharing her skills with women overseas is just as significant.
Video

Video UN Report Urges Speedier Action to Avoid Climate Disaster

A new United Nations report says the world must switch from fossil fuels to cleaner energy sources to control the effects of climate change. The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change released the report (Sunday) following a meeting of scientists and government representatives in Berlin. The comprehensive review follows two recent IPCC reports that detail the certainty of climate change, its impacts and in this most recent report what to do about it. VOA’s Rosanne Skirble has the details.
AppleAndroid