South Korea steps up hardline stance against North
SOUTH Korea's armed forces will "respond relentlessly" if they are attacked again by North Korea, the country's president said yesterday.
"We have now been awakened to the realisation that war can be prevented and peace assured only when such provocations are met with a strong response," said President Lee Myung-bak in a radio address. "Fear of war is never helpful in preventing war."
Mr Lee's government has been under pressure in recent weeks after critics said it had failed to respond fiercely enough to the North's bombardment of an island off the South's west coast that left four people dead.
The government has since responded by sacking the defence minister, installing more hawkish commanders and staging a series of US-backed military exercises along the land and sea borders with the North.
The South said it was planning more drills this week. South Korea is deeply divided over how best to contain the North, with many liberals blaming Mr Lee's policy of ending a decade of free-flowing economic aid to the North. (© Daily Telegraph, London)