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Seoul vows firm resolve against Pyongyang

[ 2010-11-30 13:21]     字号 [] [] []  
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Seoul on Monday vowed firm responses to future provocations from Pyongyang as its joint military drill with the United States continued in the Yellow Sea.

Lee Myung-bak, president of the Republic of Korea (ROK) said his nation will make the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK) pay for any further aggression, as tolerance in the past has only resulted in bigger provocations.

"We have come to realize it's hard to expect (the DPRK) to voluntarily give up on its military brinkmanship and nuclear program," Lee said in a nationally televised public speech on Monday morning.

He said his people "now know further patience and tolerance will only encourage even bigger provocations", he said.

"We will make sure that it (the DPRK) pays for its future provocations," he said.

Lee's address came a day after ROK and US forces started joint military exercises on Sunday, prompting furious responses from the DPRK.

Tensions are growing on the Korean Peninsula after the two rivals exchanged fire last week in waters near a disputed maritime border.

Lee, who called the artillery bombardment "inhumane", urged national unity and pledged to push for a defense reform designed to shore up the military. The five northernmost islands in the Yellow Sea - deemed vulnerable to the DPRK's future provocations - will also be closely guarded, the president said.

The four-day US-ROK navy drills have mobilized the aircraft carrier USS George Washington, which Pyongyang called "no more than an attempt to find a pretext for aggression and ignite a war at any cost", according to the official Korean Central News Agency.

China, the host of the Six-Party-Talks aimed at denuclearization on the peninsula, has recently been engaging in high-level shuttle diplomacy. It called on Sunday for an emergency consultation of the six envoys of the negotiating countries.

State Councilor Dai Bingguo met with Lee on Sunday and held talks over the phone with US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton late on Sunday night.

The ROK said on Sunday it did not think the time was right for a resumption of the nuclear talks on the Korean Peninsula, but said it would "bear in mind" the Chinese proposal.

Japanese Foreign Minister Seiji Maehara also rejected China's proposal, the Wall Street Journal reported on Monday.

In Washington, meanwhile, a State Department official told CNN that the US is consulting with its allies, the ROK and Japan.

Bonnie Glaser, a Senior Fellow and Freeman Chair of China Studies at the Center for Strategic and International Studies, a Washington think tank, said it is too early to have such consultations. She said she did not expect that the talks would bring any concrete results.

But other experts say that any talks at all would be positive - if only to head off further violence.

In a separate development, Japanese Prime Minister Naoto Kan reiterated his support for Seoul, and expressed his eagerness to hold talks with ROK President Lee in Japan next month to step up cooperation amid rising tensions on the Korean Peninsula.

"It depends whether President Lee can leave his country" under the current circumstances, Kan's spokesman Noriyuki Shikata said.


(中国日报网英语点津 Helen 编辑)

Seoul vows firm resolve against Pyongyang

Seoul vows firm resolve against Pyongyang

Todd Balazovic is a reporter for the Metro Section of China Daily. Born in Mineapolis Minnesota in the US, he graduated from Central Michigan University and has worked for the China Daily for one year.