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N Korea verses S Korea Saga

Discussion in 'International Forum' started by MziziMkavu, May 20, 2010.

  1. MziziMkavu

    MziziMkavu JF-Expert Member

    May 20, 2010
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    AP – Yoon Duk-yong, right, co-head of the team investigating the sinking of the South Korean warship Cheonan, …

    By JEAN H. LEE, Associated Press Writer

    SEOUL, South Korea – North Korea, accused of waging the deadliest attack on the South Korean military since the Korean War, flatly denied sinking a warship Thursday and warned that retaliation would mean "all-out war."

    Evidence presented Thursday to prove North Korea fired a torpedo that sank a South Korean ship was fabricated by Seoul, North Korean naval spokesman Col. Pak In Ho told broadcaster APTN in an exclusive interview in Pyongyang.

    He warned that any move to sanction or strike North Korea would be met with force.

    "If (South Korea) tries to deal any retaliation or punishment, or if they try sanctions or a strike on us .... we will answer to this with all-out war," he told APTN.

    An international team of civilian and military investigators declared earlier in Seoul that a North Korean submarine fired a homing torpedo at the Cheonan on March 26, ripping the 1,200-ton ship in two.

    Fifty-eight sailors were rescued, but 46 died - South Korea's worst military disaster since a truce ended the three-year Korean War in 1953.

    President Lee Myung-bak vowed to take "resolute countermeasures" and called an emergency security meeting for Friday.

    The White House called the sinking an unacceptable "act of aggression" that violated international law and the 1953 truce. Japanese Prime Minister Yukio Hatoyama declared his support for South Korea, calling North Korea's actions "inexcusable."

    However, South Korea's options for retaliation are limited.

    The armistice prevents Seoul from waging a unilateral military attack, and South Korea would not risk any retaliation that could lead to war, said North Korea expert Yoo Ho-yeol at Korea University in Seoul.

    "That could lead to a completely uncontrollable situation," he said, noting that Seoul and its 10 million residents are within striking range of North Korea's forward-deployed artillery.

    South Korea and the U.S., which has 28,500 troops on the peninsula, could hold another round of joint military exercises in a show of force, said Daniel Pinkston, a Seoul-based analyst for the International Crisis Group think tank.

    He also said the military will likely improve its early warning surveillance abilities and anti-submarine warfare capabilities to prevent such surprise attacks in the future.

    Analysts said Seoul could move to punish North Korea financially, and Foreign Minister Yu Myung-hwan also has said Seoul would consider taking it to the U.N. Security Council.

    The impoverished country is already suffering from U.N. sanctions tightened last year in the wake of widely condemned nuclear and missile tests.

    Any new Security Council action would require backing from permanent seat holder China, but analyst Koh Yu-hwan at Seoul's Dongguk University said Beijing, North Korea's traditional ally and backer during the Korean War, was unlikely to accept the Cheonan investigation report.

    China responded mildly to the report, with Vice Foreign Minister Cui Tiankai calling the sinking "unfortunate" and reiterating the need to maintain peace on the Korean peninsula.

    North Korea is accused of waging a slew of attacks on South Korea over the years, including the 1987 downing of a South Korean airliner that killed all 115 people on board. It has never owned up to the attacks, and Seoul has never retaliated militarily.

    Since the signing of a nonaggression pact in 1991, clashes between the North and South have focused on the waters off their west coast.

    North Korea disputes the maritime border drawn unilaterally by U.N. forces at the close of the Korean War, and the area where the Cheonan sank has been the site of several deadly naval clashes, most recently in November.

    Pak, the North Korean naval official, said his country had no reason to sink the Cheonan.

    "Our Korean People's Army was not founded for the purpose of attacking others. We have no intention of striking others first," he told APTN. "Why would we attack a ship like the Cheonan, which has no relation with us? We have no need to strike it, and doing so would have no meaning for us."

    Investigators from the five-nation team said detailed scientific analysis of the wreckage, as well as fragments recovered from the waters where the Cheonan went down, point to North Korean involvement.

    Torpedo fragments found on the seabed "perfectly match" the schematics of a North Korean-made torpedo Pyongyang has tried to sell abroad, chief investigator Yoon Duk-yong said. A serial number on one piece is consistent with markings from a North Korean torpedo that Seoul obtained years earlier, he said.

    "The evidence points overwhelmingly to the conclusion that the torpedo was fired by a North Korean submarine," he said. "There is no other plausible explanation."

    Pak, the North Korean military official, dismissed it as faked evidence.

    "If there were indications that the sinking was our doing, then the whole thing is an act - theatrics by the South Koreans to implicate us," he said.

    The colonel spoke to APTN outside another foreign warship: the USS Pueblo, seized by North Korea in a high-seas hijacking in 1968. The American captain and crew were held for 11 months before being freed.

    Towed to Pyongyang in 1999, the ship is popular tourist sight, a floating museum moored along the Taedong River that showcases North Korea's naval exploits.

    Pak, a 55-year veteran whose uniform was bedecked with medals, said he was among those who helped capture the USS Pueblo more than four decades ago.

    NKorea warns of war if punished for ship sinking - Yahoo! News
  2. MziziMkavu

    MziziMkavu JF-Expert Member

    May 22, 2010
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    AFP/POOL – US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton (L) listens as Japanese Foreign Minister Katsuya Okada (R) speaks …

    By Donald Kirk Donald Kirk – Fri May 21, 10:19 am ET

    Seoul, South Korea – South Korea and North Korea escalated their war of words Friday in an atmosphere of mounting tension that raised the distinct possibility of more battles in the Yellow, or West Sea but no reprisals for North Korea's torpedoing the Navy ship Cheonan in March.

    South Korean leaders appeared ambivalent about how tough to talk or act, or what to do militarily amid vague threats that left analysts wondering if they had settled on a clear plan of action.

    No sooner had President Lee Myung-bak told his top aides "we must be highly prudent" than his defense minister was vowing to "make sure that North Korea pays for its dastardly deeds."

    Kim Tae-yong, talking to foreign reporters at the Defense Ministry, stopped short of a military threat but came up with a fighting analogy that left scope for an armed response.

    "A boxer in a ring would only hit with gloves," he said, suggesting North Korea had broken the rules for the match.
    "There must be limits to its hostility and methods," said Mr. Kim. "For such acts, this government will definitely make North Korea pay."

    Counting on supportive words from visiting ClintonBut just how was the question as the government warmed up for diplomatic overtures, including pressure to get the United Nations Security Council both to condemn North Korea for torpedoing the Cheonan, killing 46 of its 104 crew members, and to strengthen sanctions.
    President Lee is counting on much-needed support from US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, who arrives here next week after talking with her counterparts in Japan and China.

    In Tokyo, she spoke Friday of the importance of "sending a clear message to North Korea that provocative actions have consequences." Mrs.Clinton, however, appeared deliberately vague as she declared "this will not be and cannot be business as usual" and called for "not just a regional but an international response."
    Lee, for his part, warned against "a single mistake in all of our responsive measures," while North Korea repeated its denials of anything to do with the incident and vowed "merciless punishment" in response to retaliation.

    Pro forma rhetoric from North Korea South Korean officials brushed off the North Korean rhetoric as pretty much pro forma for a regime that has on several occasions threatened to turn Seoul into "a sea of fire," but worried over a repetition of hostilities in disputed waters off the Korean west coast. North Korea signaled that possibility Friday, vowing "the complete abrogation of the North-South agreement on non-aggression," a reference to a pact reached in 1991 in which the North promised to respect the Northern Limit Line (NLL) in the Yellow Sea.

    North Korea for more than a decade has been challenging the NLL, delineated by the United Nations Command three years after the Korean War ended in 1953, in bloody battles in June 1999, June 2002, and again last November, when a South Korean corvette sent a North Korean boat back to port in flames.

    Intelligence analysts believe North Korean commanders planned the attack on the Cheonan by a North Korean submarine armed with a single torpedo in retaliation for the November incident.

    With tensions high, the fear is that North Korean patrol boats will again challenge the line and that South Korean corvettes and patrol boats will fire back. They are under orders to fire warning shots if they see an enemy boat but can fire to hit the target if the North Koreans fire first.

    Whatever they do, though, South Korean forces are not about to strike the ports on the Yellow Sea where North Korea keeps many of its 70 submarines.

    "We are considering all kinds of options except the military," says Choi Jin-wook, senior North Korea analyst at the Korean Institute of National Unification. "International cooperation is very important. Economic sanctions can be very painful."

    Who will side with South Korea?South Korean leaders face problems, however, in convincing their own people as well as foreign leaders of their cause. President Lee at the meeting of his national security council stressed "international aspects" of the incident as well as "its impact on our society and economy."

    The response of South Koreans should become evident in local elections on June 2, in which hundreds of candidates are running for the posts of mayor and governor and city and provincial assemblies. "The opposition is not going to accept the government position," says Mr. Choi. "They will use this to criticize the government, to say it's not qualified to fight."

    Although local positions do not have immediate influence on policy vis-à-vis North Korea, the national issue inevitably influences sentiment. "The opposition tries to exploit this," says Choi. "Every election is a national election in Korea."

    The ruling, deeply conservative Grand National Party is strong in the densely populated region of metropolitan Seoul and the nearby port city of Incheon, but faces deep-seated hostility in the southwestern Cholla provinces and Kwangju, scene of a bloody antigovernment revolt 30 years ago this month in which more than 200 people were killed.

    Clinton condemns North Korea as South Korea weighs response - Yahoo! News
  3. Kevo

    Kevo JF-Expert Member

    May 22, 2010
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    North Korea has simply breached an International Agreement it entered with South Korea.This deed should not go unpunished.It has breached the UN Charter and US sanctions are not doing enough.
    I have always thought a Republican in the Oval Office would have settled this matter swiftly.Dems are too sweet.
    Sinking a ship with 46 sailors dead?????and threatening an all time war incase actoiin is taken against it????This is enough justification for use of force againt NK