South Korea Friday gave the clearest signal to date it had no plan to launch a revenge attack if it turns out, as widely suspected, North Korea sank one of its navy vessels last month near their disputed border. ...The same article notes the risks and problems associated with any action Seoul might take:
"Just as the investigation is being conducted with international cooperation, we'll try to cooperate with the international community in taking necessary measures when the results are out," President Lee Myung-bak told a group of visiting foreign journalists.
U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said that North Korea should not take provocative actions following the allegations it may have sunk the South Korean ship, and should resume talks on ending its nuclear programs.
The sinking of the ship is an issue fraught with risks for South Korea's Lee.Of course, taking no action also comes with risks. Fortunately, there are some good options available that can teach the North a lesson without things getting too hot.
If he were to launch a military attack on his impoverished neighbor, it would be the South that would come off worse, with investors likely to take fright at the threat of conflict across the Cold War's last frontier just as the economy is recovering fast from the global financial crisis. ...
Lee needs to prevent turning the emotionally charged affair into a weapon for his political opposition at home ahead of June local elections which could, if his ruling party suffers a serious setback in the polls, damage his authority and ability to push through promised pro-business reforms.