Hwaseong: President Lee
Myung-bak on Wednesday called for the military to arm itself with the
"esprit of fight tonight" as South Korea formally launched a
new command to better shield frontline islands near the Yellow
Sea border from future North Korean attacks.
The South`s military was criticized for a perceived
weak and slow response when North Korea shelled one of the
five islands last November, killing four people, including two
civilians. The shelling prompted South Korea to set up the
Northwest Islands Defense Command to strike back with tougher
measures if another attack occurs.
"North Korea clearly brought us attention beyond our
imagination, but our military did not rapidly and effectively
face enemy provocations," Lee said in a speech marking the
launch of the new command.
"High-tech weapons or money does not make peace and
security on the Korean Peninsula," Lee told military leaders.
"Rather, only a group with the `esprit of fight
tonight` confronting the worst-case scenario with steadfast
courage can ensure peace and security," Lee said.
Lee`s speech was read by his Navy Chief of Staff, Adm.
Kim Sung-chan, during the ceremony held at the Marine Corps
headquarters in Hwaseong, some 45 kilometers southwest of
Expressing confidence in the new command and its
service members, Lee urged them to "fearlessly defend" the
lives of South Korean civilians, property and territorial
waters near the Yellow Sea border.