South Korea cuts trade with North

South Korea cuts trade with North

Vows to make Pyongyang pay a price for torpedo attack that killed 46 sailors

South Korea cuts trade with North

President Lee Myung-Bak also banned the North’s merchant ships from South Korean waters and said Seoul would refer the March 26 attack — which killed 46 sailors — to the United Nations Security Council for punishment.

In a nationally televised address, a sombre-looking Lee vowed an immediate military response to any future aggression. He said South Korea had in the past repeatedly tolerated the North’s “brutality”.

“But now things are different. North Korea will pay a price corresponding to its provocative acts,” he said, demanding an apology for the sinking of the Cheonan, a 1,200-tonne corvette.

Washington support
US President Barack Obama directed his administration to review North Korea policy, and commanded his armed forces to work closely with South Korea “to ensure readiness and to deter future aggression,” the White House said.
But the North’s military threatened to open fire at any South Korean loudspeakers broadcasting propaganda across the border if Seoul follows through on its pledge to install them as part of the reprisals.

Zero tolerance
“From now on, (South) Korea will not tolerate any provocative act by the North and will maintain the principle of proactive deterrence,” Lee said.
“If our territorial waters, airspace or territory are violated, we will immediately exercise our right of self-defence.”

The United States and numerous other nations have condemned the attack, seen in Seoul as one of the worst provocations since the 1950-53 Korean War. The North’s ally China, which wields a Security Council veto, has only called on all sides to show restraint. US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, during her current visit to Beijing, is pressing China to get tough with its wayward ally. She goes on to Seoul on Wednesday.