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's Controversial Reform Bill Giving Investors Jitters

Homeland security reform bill will give police new powers in search, seizure, detention and arrests, while restricting the rights of suspects, their attorneys More

Audio Slideshow In Kenyan Prison, Good Grades Are Path to Freedom

Some inmates who get high marks could see their sentences commuted to non-custodial status More

'Rumble in the Jungle' Turns 40

'The Champ' knocked Foreman out to regain crown he had lost 7 years earlier when US government accused him of draft-dodging and boxing officials revoked his license 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.
Victorious Secularists Face Challenge to Form Government in Tunisiai
X
Henry Ridgwell
October 30, 2014 11:39 PM
Official results from Tunisia show the Islamist Ennahda party has failed to win the second free election since the so-called "Arab Spring" uprising in 2011. Ennahda, which handed power to a government of technocrats pending the elections, lost out to the secular party Nidaa Tounes. Henry Ridgwell reports from London that the relatively peaceful poll offers some hope in a volatile region.
Video

Video Victorious Secularists Face Challenge to Form Government in Tunisia

Official results from Tunisia show the Islamist Ennahda party has failed to win the second free election since the so-called "Arab Spring" uprising in 2011. Ennahda, which handed power to a government of technocrats pending the elections, lost out to the secular party Nidaa Tounes. Henry Ridgwell reports from London that the relatively peaceful poll offers some hope in a volatile region.
Video

Video Africa Tells its Story Through Fashion

In Africa, Fashion Week is a riot of colors, shapes, patterns and fabrics - against the backdrop of its ongoing struggle between nature and its fast-growing urban edge. How do these ideas translate into needle and thread? VOA’s Anita Powell visited this year’s Mercedes Benz Fashion Week Africa in Johannesburg to find out.
Video

Video Smugglers Offer Cheap Passage From Turkey to Syria

Smugglers in Turkey offer a relatively cheap passage across the border into Syria. Ankara has stepped up efforts to stem the flow of foreign fighters who want to join Islamic State militants fighting for control of the Syrian border city of Kobani. But porous borders and border guards who can be bribed make illegal border crossings quite easy. Zlatica Hoke has more.
Video

Video China Political Meeting Seeks to Improve Rule of Law

China’s communist leaders will host a top level political meeting this week, called the Fourth Plenum, and for the first time in the party’s history, rule of law will be a key item on the agenda. Analysts and Chinese media reports say the meetings could see the approval of long-awaited measures aimed at giving courts more independence and include steps to enhance an already aggressive and high-reaching anti-corruption drive. VOA’s Bill Ide has more from Beijing.
Video

Video After Decades of Pressure, Luxembourg Drops Bank Secrecy Rules

European Union finance ministers have reached a breakthrough agreement that will make it more difficult for tax cheats to hide their money. The new legislation, which had been blocked for years by countries with a reputation as tax havens, was approved last week after Luxembourg and Austria agreed to lift their vetoes. But as Mil Arcega reports, it doesn’t mean tax cheats have run out of places to keep their money hidden.
Video

Video Kobani Refugees Welcome, Turkey Criticizes, US Airdrop

Residents of Kobani in northern Syria have welcomed the airdrop of weapons, ammunition and medicine to Kurdish militia who are resisting the seizure of their city by Islamic State militants. The Turkish government, however, has criticized the operation. VOA’s Scott Bobb reports from southeastern Turkey, across the border from Kobani.

All About America

AppleAndroid