<font color="maroon" size=2><b>[Breaking News]</b></font><br>Passive military defense will be ditched: Lee

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[Breaking News]
Passive military defense will be ditched: Lee

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South Korea will no longer tolerate North Korea’s provocations and will change its military posture from passive defense to proactive deterrence, President Lee Myung-bak said today, detailing his country’s response to the communist regime’s attack on a patrol boat in March.

“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 [myoja@joongang.co.kr]
Related Korean Article

전쟁기념관서 대국민담화..`한반도정세 중대 전환점`
`천안함침몰, 대한민국 공격한 北군사도발`..김정일 무언급
`北, 사과.관련자 즉각 처벌해야`..유엔안보리 회부
`北선박, 우리해역 이용 불가..남북 교역.교류 중단`


이명박 대통령은 24일 천안함 사태와 관련한 대국민 담화에서 "앞으로 (북한이) 우리의 영해, 영공, 영토를 무력침범한다면 즉각 자위권을 발동할 것"이라며 "대한민국은 앞으로 북한의 어떠한 도발도 용납하지 않고 적극적 억제 원칙을 견지할 것"이라고 말했다.

이 대통령은 이날 오전 용산 전쟁기념관 호국추모실에서 행한 담화에서 이같이 밝히고 "북한은 대한민국과 국제사회 앞에 사과하고 이번 사건 관련자들을 즉각 처벌해야 한다"며 "이것은 북한이 우선적으로 취해야 할 기본적 책무"라고 말했다.

이 대통령은 "한반도 정세가 중대한 전환점을 맞고 있다"고 전제, "북한은 자신의 행위에 상응하는 대가를 치르게 될 것이다. 나는 북한의 책임을 묻기 위해 단호하게 조처해 나가겠다"면서 "지금 이 순간부터 북한 선박은 남북해운합의서에 의해 허용된 우리 해역의 어떠한 해상교통로도 이용할 수 없다"고 선언했다.

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