ROK President slams DPRK's torpedo attack

(China Daily)
Updated: 2010-05-22 09:50
Large Medium Small

SEOUL - Republic of Korea (ROK) President Lee Myung-bak on Friday called the torpedo attack on one of its warships a "military provocation" by the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK) and a violation of the armistice agreement between the two sides.

Lee made the remarks at an emergency meeting of his National Security Council (NSC) convened to discuss follow-up measures to deal with the Cheonan incident.

During the three-hour meeting, Lee said "the sinking of the Cheonan was a surprise military attack by the DPRK at a late hour when the people were taking a good rest after a day's work," according to a press release issued by the presidential office.

Related readings:
ROK President slams DPRK's torpedo attackPyongyang accuses US of continuing anti-DPRK policy
ROK President slams DPRK's torpedo attack'It's obvious' DPRK sank ship: ROK
ROK President slams DPRK's torpedo attackChina urges restraint after ROK report over sinking boat
ROK President slams DPRK's torpedo attackObama calls ROK's Lee over ship sinking
ROK President slams DPRK's torpedo attackROK to cut inter-Korean cooperation

Lee said the incident constitutes a "military provocation" which is in contravention of the UN Charter, the Korean War Armistice Agreement and the Basic Agreement between the two sides.

The armistice agreement was signed at the end of the 1950-53 Korean War, and has since left the two sides technically at war, while the 1991 Basic Agreement obliges the two sides not to invade each other and to work together toward reconciliation.

Describing the incident as "serious and grave," Lee said, "there must not be a single mistake when taking countermeasures." The government has to remain cautious, he added.

To deal with the incident, the ROK government should review and discuss from "various perspectives what kind of impact the incident will have on the military, the present and future of inter-Korean relations, our society, the international community and the economic recovery which has been underway after a long while," he said.

"In order to prevent the DPRK from waging reckless provocations, the government must maintain its composure and respond to the DPRK systematically and resolutely without an inch of wavering," Lee said.

The press release said the president will make a special announcement before the nation in connection with the Cheonan incident.

The meeting, attended by Prime Minister Chung Un-chan, Foreign Minister Yu Myung-hwan, Unification Minister Hyun In-taek, Defense Minister Kim Tae-young and other related ministers, also discussed ways to strengthen international coordination on the Cheonan incident, the nation's defense posture, inter-Korean relations and the management of the country's sovereign rating.

They also discussed how to better prepare the nation's defense readiness.

ROK on Thursday announced the outcome of investigations of the Cheonan incident made by a multinational team, which said the warship that went into waters near a tense maritime border with the DPRK in March was torpedoed by the DPRK.

The DPRK on Thursday swiftly rejected Seoul's claims that it sank the warship by a submarine, saying it will send inspectors to ROK to verify evidence related to the sinking of the warship.