Saturday, April 24, 2010

Reuters: No indication South Korea will retaliate alone for sinking of Chonan

It looks like a unilateral attack on North Korean bases in response to the sinking of the Chonan, allegedly by the North, is not going to happen.

From Reuters:
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. ...

"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 same article notes the risks and problems associated with any action Seoul might take:
The sinking of the ship is an issue fraught with risks for South Korea's Lee.

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.
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.


  1. Yes, but everyone knows what I'm talking about. I'm following a convention where full use of breves is provided for when a proper name, word, or phrase is first stated, but then it is written without diacritics, à la Pyongyang.

    "North Korea is being blamed for the sinking of the Chonan [천안, ch'ŏ•nan], but ... blah blah blah... South Korea has no plans to retaliate for the sinking of the Chonan until it knows exactly what's going on."

    Something like that.


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