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Pres. Lee Urges ‘Substantial Action’ vs. NK

Posted June. 10, 2010 13:51,   


President Lee Myung-bak urged Wednesday countermeasures against North Korea’s sinking of the South Korean naval patrol ship Cheonan.

“We should take substantial measures to make North Korea clearly recognize that military provocations will only bring losses to it,” he told a breakfast meeting with advisers on diplomacy and national security at the presidential office. “Regardless of the (local elections) results, maintaining the direction of diplomatic and national security policy is important.”

To this, a source at the presidential office said, “This comment is the expression of the president’s commitment to the North Korea policy the government is implementing.” The source added, however, that the president did not mean presenting new measures.

The advisers at the meeting agreed that relying solely on a U.N. Security Council resolution in the diplomatic efforts to punish the North is a problem. One said, “Giving the impression that we will force a voting showdown with China is undesirable,” to which President Lee reportedly agreed.

Another adviser said, “While explaining to us the content of his meeting with Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao, President Lee said he wants China’s cooperation but apparently felt burdened because of excessive media attention on a U.N. Security Council resolution.”

Prior to the meeting, the advisory group is known to have submitted to President Lee a comprehensive report on the Cheonan sinking at the end of last month. The report urges the government to have a public debate on a delay in the transfer of wartime operational command back to Seoul, which is scheduled for April 2012.

This issue was not discussed at the meeting, however.

Separately, President Lee told members of the National Unification Advisory Council in charge of the Eurasian region, “We are in the process of steering North Korea to the right path. North Korea should accept its wrongdoing as a wrongdoing.”