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Pres. Lee Pledges `Self-defense vs. NK Attack`

Posted May. 25, 2010 11:26,   


President Lee Myung-bak said Monday that South Korea will defend itself against a North Korean attack under the principle of proactive deterrence.

“The Republic of Korea will not tolerate any provocative behavior by North Korea. We will also maintain the principle of proactive deterrence,” he said in an address to the nation at the War Memorial of Korea in Seoul. “If North Korea invades our territorial waters, airspace or territory, we will immediately exercise our right to self-defense.”

The president’s emphasis on proactive deterrence and right to self-defense apparently reflects Seoul’s shift from defense against Pyongyang to prevention of its provocations in advance. His announcement also implied an immediate response to the North’s military provocations, significant changes to the concept of military operations, and beefing up South Korea’s forces.

“The Korean Peninsula faces a significant watershed. The sinking of the Cheonan was caused by a North Korean military provocation. The North will pay a price for its provocative behavior. I’ll take stern measures to hold Pyongyang accountable,” President Lee said.

He announced a ban on North Korean ships using sea lanes in South Korean waters as allowed by an inter-Korean marine agreement and the suspension of inter-Korean trade and exchanges.

“Considering that North Korea attacked the Cheonan and took the lives of many South Korean young men, inter-Korean cooperation or exchange is meaningless. But we will maintain support for infants and young children (in North Korea) and carefully consider matters related to the Kaesong industrial complex,” he said.

“North Korea violated the U.N. Charter, the Korean War armistice, and the basic inter-Korean agreement by attacking the Cheonan March 26. Our government will refer this matter to the U.N. Security Council and cooperate with the international community to hold Pyongyang accountable.”

The president added, “North Korea should apologize to the world and the Republic of Korea and punish those responsible for the tragic incident. These basic measures should be taken by North Korean authorities immediately.”

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