SKorea vows re­tal­i­a­tion if North attacks again

The Pak Banker - - 6i Nternational -

SEOUL: South Korea's pres­i­dent vowed re­lent­less re­tal­i­a­tion against North Korea if pro­voked again, say­ing Mon­day he is not afraid of war with the com­mu­nist North.

The two Koreas have ramped up their rhetoric since North Korea shelled front-line Yeon­pyeong Is­land near the tense western sea border last month, killing four South Kore­ans.

Both sides ac­cuse the other of trig­ger­ing the Nov. 23 ex­change of ar­tillery.

On Mon­day, Pres­i­dent Lee Myung-bak used his reg­u­lar ra­dio ad­dress to vow to get tougher with any new provo­ca­tion by North Korea.

"We have now been awak­ened to the re­al­iza­tion that war can be pre­vented and peace as­sured only when such provo­ca­tions are met with a strong re­sponse," Lee said. "Fear of war is never help­ful in pre­vent­ing war."

He said South Korea's mil- itary "must re­spond re­lent­lessly when they come un­der at­tack."

Lee urged South Kore­ans to be more united on na­tional se­cu­rity be­cause North Korea tries to take ad­van­tage of any di­vi­sion in pub­lic opin­ions in the South.

"There can be no dif­fer­ence be­tween you and me when it comes to na­tional se­cu­rity be­cause our lives and the sur­vival of the nation de­pend on it," he said.

"They al­ways have their eyes open to take ad­van­tage of any op­por­tu­nity if they de­tect any di­vi­sive­ness in our minds and thoughts."

South Korea has staged a se­ries of mil­i­tary drills - in­clud­ing one on Yeon­pyeong Is­land on Dec. 20 - in a show of force against the North since the ar­tillery bom­bard­ment. The South also has threat­ened airstrikes if hit again, has or­dered more troops on front-line is­lands and is push­ing for up­graded rules of en­gage­ment to al­low for a more force­ful re­sponse to fu­ture provo­ca­tions.

North Korea, for its part, has also kept up rhetoric as it marks the 19th an­niver­sary of leader Kim Jong Il's ap­point­ment as the coun­try's supreme mil­i­tary com­man­der. Kim's mil­i­tary chief threat­ened last week to launch a "sa­cred" nu­clear war against the South.

The North's main news­pa­per warned Mon­day that South Korea's re­cent ex­er­cises are "reck­less mil­i­tary provo­ca­tion" that could lead the South down a path to self-de­struc­tion.

"There is limit to our pa­tience," said the Rodong Sin­mun com­men­tary car­ried by the of­fi­cial Korean Cen­tral News Agency.

The provo­ca­tions may con­tinue un­abated into 2011, said a re­port is­sued by the state-run In­sti­tute for Na­tional Se­cu­rity Strat­egy in Seoul. -Ap

PH­NOM PENH: Cam­bo­dia For­eign Min­is­ter Hor Nam Hong (R) shows the way to Bangladesh For­eign Min­is­ter Dipu Moni (L) at the For­eign Min­istry. -Ap

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