South Korean President Lee Myung-bak pledged that North Korea will “pay a price” for the torpedo attack on a naval ship last March in a national address Monday.
“We have always tolerated North Korea’s brutality, time and again. We did so because we have always had a genuine longing for peace on the Korean peninsula,” he said.
President Lee also announced plans to cut trade with North Korea, which is estimated to cost Pyongyang $200 million per year, according to the Associated Press. He will approach the U.N. Security Council with hopes of imposing further sanctions, citing wide support from the international community.
As an additional retaliatory measure, North Korean ships are now prohibited from entering South Korean waters, where they have been permitted since 2004.
In Beijing, Secretary of State Hilary Clinton spoke in support of South Korea, where she will travel next.
“We intend to work with the international community to create a climate in which both consequences are felt by North Korea and working to change their behavior going forward to avoid the kind of escalation that would be very regrettable,” she said.
The U.S. currently has 28,500 troops in South Korea and is prepared to help protect against further escalation by North Korea, likely by assisting South Korea with military training exercises, the AP reports.
According to The Korean Herald, these antisubmarine exercises in the West Sea will focus on “improving defense tactics against the North’s underwater attacks.”
Meanwhile, tension continues to mount as South Korea resumes propaganda broadcasts in the Demilitarized Zone that has divided the peninsula since the end of the Korean War. North Korea has threatened to shoot down the loudspeakers in response.
The Christian Science Monitor ponders what other responses we can expect from North Korea:
Analysts predict fresh North Korean military challenges in the waters around South Korea – and more rounds of naval warfare. Some are concerned that North Korea may conduct a third nuclear weapons test or test-fire more missiles…
… “A typical menu would include another nuclear test and missile test-firing,” says Kim Sung-han, professor of international relations at Korea University. But he predicts that North Korea first “will test the will of South Korea by sending vessels into South Korean waters.”