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

Karzai's Legacy: Missed Opportunities?

Afghanistan's president leaves behind a much different nation than the one he inherited, yet his legacy from 13 years in power is getting mixed reviews More

US Urges Restraint in Hong Kong Protests

Protesters angered by Beijing's decision to only approve candidates that it sanctions for Hong Kong's leadership elections in 2017 More

Archive of Forgotten UCLA Speeches Offers Snapshot of History

Recordings of prominent voices in social change, politics, science and literature from 1960s, early 1970s now available on YouTube 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.
Treasure Hunters Seek 'Hidden Treasure' in Central Kenyai
X
Gabe Joselow
September 29, 2014 6:20 PM
Could a cave in a small village in central Kenya be the site of buried treasure? A rumor of riches, left behind by colonialists, has some residents dreaming of wealth, while others see it as a dangerous hoax. VOA's Gabe Joselow has the story.
Video

Video Treasure Hunters Seek 'Hidden Treasure' in Central Kenya

Could a cave in a small village in central Kenya be the site of buried treasure? A rumor of riches, left behind by colonialists, has some residents dreaming of wealth, while others see it as a dangerous hoax. VOA's Gabe Joselow has the story.
Video

Video Iran's Rouhani Skeptical on Syria Strikes

Iranian President Hassan Rouhani expressed skepticism Friday that U.S.-led airstrikes in Iraq and Syria could crush Islamic State militants. From New York, VOA’s Margaret Besheer reports the president was also hopeful that questions about Iran’s nuclear program could be resolved soon.
Video

Video US House Speaker: Congress Should Debate Authorization Against IS

As wave after wave of U.S. airstrikes target Islamic State militants, the speaker of the Republican-controlled House of Representatives says he would be willing to call Congress back into session to debate a formal, broad authorization for the use of military force. VOA’s Michael Bowman reports from Washington, where legislators left town 10 days ago for a seven-week recess.
Video

Video Ebola Patients Find No Treatment at Sierra Leone Holding Center

At a holding facility in Makeni, central Sierra Leone, dozens of sick people sit on the floor in an empty university building. They wait in filthy conditions. It's a 16-hour drive by ambulance to Kailahun Ebola treatment center. Adam Bailes was there and reports on what he says are some of the worst situations he has seen since the beginning of this Ebola outbreak. And he says it appears case numbers may already be far worse than authorities acknowledge.
Video

Video Identifying Bodies Found in Texas Border Region

Thousands of immigrants have died after crossing the border from Mexico into remote areas of the southwestern United States in recent years. Local officials in south Texas alone have found hundreds of unidentified bodies and buried them in mass graves in local cemeteries. Now an anthropologist and her students at Baylor University have been exhuming bodies and looking for clues to identify them. VOA’s Greg Flakus has more from Waco, Texas.
Video

Video Ebola Robs Liberians of Chance to Say Good-Bye to Loved Ones

In Liberia, where Ebola has killed more than 1,500 people, authorities have worked hard to convince people to allow specialized burial teams to take away dead bodies. But these safety measures, while necessary, make it hard for people to say good bye to their loved ones. VOA's Anne Look reports on the tragedy from Liberia.
Video

Video Reconstruction? What Reconstruction? Life After War in Gaza

It’s been a month since Israel and the Palestinians agreed to a ceasefire to end 52 days of an air and tank war that left 60,000 homes in Gaza damaged or destroyed and 110,000 homeless. Sharon Behn reports that lack of reconstruction is leading to despair.
Video

Video US, Saudi Arabia and UAE Hit Islamic State's Oil Revenue

The United States, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates have bombed oil facilities operated by Islamic State militants in Syria. It was a truly collaborative effort, with the two Arab countries dropping the majority of the bombs. The 12 refineries targeted were estimated to generate as much as $2 million per day for the terrorist group. VOA Pentagon correspondent Carla Babb has the story.
Video

Video Russia's Food Sanctions Raise Price Worries, Hopes for Domestic Production

Russia retaliated against Western sanctions imposed for its actions in Ukraine by halting food imports from the West. The temporary import ban on food from Australia, the European Union, Norway and North America has Russian consumers concerned that they could face a sharp increase in food prices. But in an ironic twist, the restrictions aimed at the Kremlin have made Russia's domestic food producers hopeful this can boost their business. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports from Moscow.
Video

Video Washington to Pyongyang: 'Shut This Evil System Down'

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry is calling on North Korea to shut down prison camps and other human rights abuses following a United Nations Commission of Inquiry into "widespread and systematic human rights violations." VOA State Department Correspondent Scott Stearns reports from the United Nations.
Colonel Steve ‘Spiros’ Pisanos left Greece and came to the U.S. to learn to fly. He flew fighters for the Allies in World War II, narrowly escaping death multiple times.Colonel Steve ‘Spiros’ Pisanos left Greece and came to the U.S. to learn to fly. He flew fighters for the Allies in World War II, narrowly escaping death multiple times.

AppleAndroid