News / Asia

South Korean President Angered by 'Inhumane' Attack

South Korean marines watch a live television broadcast of President Lee Myung-bak's speech, on Yeonpyeong Island, South Korea, Monday, Nov. 29, 2010. Lee took responsibility for failing to protect his citizens from a deadly North Korean artillery attack l
South Korean marines watch a live television broadcast of President Lee Myung-bak's speech, on Yeonpyeong Island, South Korea, Monday, Nov. 29, 2010. Lee took responsibility for failing to protect his citizens from a deadly North Korean artillery attack l

South Korean President Lee Myung-bak Monday apologized for not protecting South Korean civilians from North Korea's artillery attack on an inhabited island, which he labeled an inhumane crime.

The president says North Korea will be made to the pay the price for any further provocation.

Mr. Lee called for national unity in a country split between hardliners demanding immediate punishment and liberals worried that an escalation of tensions could plunge the peninsula into a war.

Such a conflict could result in North Korea firing artillery onto the crowded capital, Seoul, imperiling the South's vibrant economy.

The president made no reference to China's offer to host emergency multi-national talks on the crisis with North Korea. But the South Korean president says it is difficult to expect that Pyongyang will abandon nuclear weapons and military brinkmanship.

Last Tuesday's artillery attack was the second provocative act of the year blamed on North Korea.

South Korea responded with restraint after one of its navy warships was sunk in March in the Yellow Sea, killing 46 sailors. An international investigation concluded the Cheonan was hit by a North Korean torpedo.

Pyongyang denies any responsibility for the sinking. But it does acknowledge bombarding Yeonpyeong island on Tuesday. North Korea says it was protecting its sovereignty after South Korean troops on an annual training exercise fired artillery into a disputed Yellow Sea border area.

The attack on Yeonpyeong killed two South Korean marines and two civilians.

Northeast Asia analyst Daniel Pinkston, from the International Crisis Group, says the two incidents present a dilemma for the South Korean leadership.

"This year there have been two tremendous failures in deterrence. So deterrence must be restored," he said.  "However, by demonstrating the capabilities and the cost that North Korea would pay in case of further provocation you want to do that in such a way that North Korea does not misperceive or miscalculate, and in fact you end up triggering a war because a war would be very costly."

In a show of deterrence the U.S. Navy has sent a U.S. aircraft carrier and other ships into the Yellow Sea to train with South Korea's navy.

South Korean vessels and aircraft are taking part in what military officials say is a "live fire" exercise meant to demonstrate the alliance's resolve and capability. The exercise ends Wednesday.

The North is impoverished and isolated, with neighbor China its only significant ally. North and South Korea technically have remained in a state of war since three years of combat in the early 1950's ground to a stalemate.

You May Like

India PM Modi's Party Distances Itself From Religious Conversions

BJP under fire for being slow to rein in hardline affiliate groups allegedly trying to promote Hindu-dominant agenda by luring Muslims and Christians to convert More

Anti-Whaling Group Found in Contempt of Court

Radical environmentalists who threw acid and smoke bombs at Japanese whalers in the waters off Antarctica continue their campaign to disrupt Japan's annual whale hunt More

UN's Ban Urges End to Discrimination Against Ebola Workers

Ban was speaking in Guinea on the second day of a whistle-stop tour aimed at thanking healthcare workers of the countries at the heart of the epidemic 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.
US Decision on Cuba Underscores Divisions Among Miami Cubansi
X
Sharon Behn
December 19, 2014 9:34 PM
For decades, older, more conservative Cubans have been gathering at Café Versailles on the corner of Calle Ocho to eat Cuban food and talk politics. After hearing of President Barack Obama’s decision, a number of them gathered in front of the café with posters to protest. VOA's Sharon Behn reports on the situation.
Video

Video US Decision on Cuba Underscores Divisions Among Miami Cubans

For decades, older, more conservative Cubans have been gathering at Café Versailles on the corner of Calle Ocho to eat Cuban food and talk politics. After hearing of President Barack Obama’s decision, a number of them gathered in front of the café with posters to protest. VOA's Sharon Behn reports on the situation.
Video

Video Three Cities Bid for Future Obama Presidential Library

President Barack Obama still has two years left in his term in office, but the effort to establish his post-presidential library is already underway. The bid for the Obama Presidential Library is down to four locations in three states -- New York, Hawaii, and Illinois. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, each of them played an important part in the president’s life before he reached the White House.
Video

Video Cuba Deal is Major Victory for Pope’s Diplomatic Initiatives

Pope Francis played a key role in brokering the US-Cuba deal that was made public earlier this week. It is the most stunning success so far in a series of peacemaking efforts by the pontiff. VOA religion reporter Jerome Socolovsky has more.
Video

Video Fears of More Political Gridlock in 2015

2014 proved to be a difficult year politically for President Barack Obama and a very good year for the U.S. Republican Party. Republican gains in the November midterm elections gave them control of the Senate and House of Representatives for the next two years -- setting the stage for more confrontation and gridlock in the final two years of the Obama presidency. VOA National Correspondent Jim Malone has a preview from Washington.
Video

Video Sudan School Becomes Target of Aerial Attacks

The school dropout rate is at an all-time high in Sudan's South Kordofan state because many schools have been destroyed during the three-year civil war between the government and SPLA-N rebel forces. Adam Bailes visited Sudan's Nuba Mountains' region and reports many children are simply too scared to go to school
Video

Video VOA Reporter Tours Devastated Peshawar School

Islamist militants wearing military uniforms and strapped with explosives attacked a military run school Tuesday in the northwestern Pakistani city of Peshawar. At least 141 people were killed in the horrific attack, most of them young students. VOA reporter Ayaz Gul visited the devastated school and attended the funeral of the principal who courageously tried to save her students from the deadly attack.
Video

Video Nigerians Fleeing Boko Haram Languish in Camp Near Capital

In its five-year effort to impose Islamic law in northeastern Nigeria, the Boko Haram extremist group has killed thousands of people and forced hundreds of thousands to flee. Some of those who ran for their lives now live in squalor on the edges of the capital, Abuja. Chris Stein reports for VOA.
Video

Video Aceh Rebuilt Decade After Tsunami, But Scars Remain

On December 26, 2004 there was an earthquake in the Indian Ocean so powerful it caused the Earth’s axis to wobble a few centimeters. Onshore on the island of Sumatra, the resulting tsunami was devastating. A decade later, VOA Correspondent Steve Herman reports from Banda Aceh, Indonesia, where although there is little remaining evidence of the physical devastation, the psychological scars among survivors remain.

All About America

AppleAndroid