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

Mood Tense Ahead of Scotland Independence Vote

As race to persuade undecided voters continues, No voters say they believe life in Scotland will slowly improve and do not want to take a risk by endorsing independence More

South Africa’s 'Open Mosque' Admits Everyone, Including Critics

Open Mosque founder plans to welcome gay worshipers and allow women to lead prayers More

Ukrainian Activist in Despair About Future of Her Country

IrIna Dovgan, accused of being a spy and tortured by pro-Russian separatists, is appealing to UN Human Rights Council to support her country 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.
A Dinosaur Fit for Land and Wateri
X
September 17, 2014 8:44 PM
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 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.
Video

Video NASA Picks Boeing, SpaceX to Carry Astronauts Into Space

The U.S. space agency, NASA, has chosen Boeing and SpaceX companies to build the next generation of spacecraft that will carry U.S. astronauts to the International Space Station by the year 2017. The deal with private industry enables NASA to end its dependence on Russia to send space crews into low Earth orbit and back. Zlatica Hoke has more.
Video

Video Future of Ukrainian Former President's Estate Uncertain

More than six months after Ukraine's former President Viktor Yanukovych fled revolution to Russia, authorities have yet to gain control of his palatial estate. Protesters occupy the grounds and opened it to tourists but they are also refusing to turn it over to the state. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports from Mezhigirya, just north of Kyiv.
Video

Video China Muslims Work to Change Perceptions After Knife Attacks

China says its has sentenced three men to death and one woman to life in prison for a deadly knife attack in March that left more than 30 dead and 140 injured. Beijing says Muslim militants from China's restive western region of Xinjiang carried out the attacks. Now, more than six months after the incident, residents in the city are still coping with the aftermath. VOA's Bill Ide has more from Kunming.
Video

Video Enviropreneur Seeks to Save the Environment, Empower the Community

Lorna Rutto, a former banker, is now an ‘enviropreneur’ - turning plastic waste into furniture and fences discusses the challenges she faces in Africa with raw materials and the environment.
Video

Video West Trades Accusations Over Ransoms

As world leaders try to forge a common response to the threat posed by Islamic State militants in Iraq and Syria, there is simmering tension over differing policies on paying ransoms. In the past month, the jihadist group has beheaded two Americans and one Briton. Both countries refuse to pay ransom money. As Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London, there is uncertainty in the approach of some other European nations.
Video

Video Scotland Independence Bid Stokes Global Interest

The people of Scotland are preparing to vote on whether to become independent and break away from the rest of Britain, in a referendum being watched carefully in many other countries. Some see it as a risky experiment; while others hope a successful vote for independence might energize their own separatist demands. Foreign immigrants to Scotland have a front row seat for the vote. VOA’s Henry Ridgwell spoke to some of them in Edinburgh.


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