Passive military defense will be ditched: Lee
“If our territorial waters, airspace or territory are militarily violated, we will immediately exercise our right of self-defense,” Lee said in an address to the nation, televised live Monday morning.
“From this moment, no North Korean ship will be allowed to make passage through any of the shipping lanes in the waters under our control, which has been allowed by the Inter-Korean Agreement on Maritime Transportation,” Lee said. “The sea routes meant for inter-Korean exchanges and cooperation must never again be used for armed provocations.”
An international team of experts concluded last week that a North Korean submarine infiltrated the South Korean waters west of the peninsula and fired a torpedo at the Navy warship Cheonan, sinking the ship and killing 46 sailors on March 26.
“In close consultations with the nations concerned, the government will refer this matter to the UN Security Council, so that the international community can join us in holding the North accountable,” Lee said. “Many countries around the world have expressed their full support for our position.”
“Trade and exchanges between the Republic of Korea and North Korea will also be suspended,” Lee said.
“However, we will continue to provide assistance for infants and children,” he said. “Matters pertaining to the Kaesong Industrial Complex will be duly considered, taking its unique characteristics into consideration.”
The joint industrial site built in the North as a symbol of reconciliation is regarded as the last bastion of the inter-Korean ties. More than 100 South Korean companies employ about 40,000 North Koreans in Kaesong. Shutting the complex will likely anger South Korean businesses that use Kaesong as an Asian exports base.
By Ser Myo-ja [email@example.com]
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