Seoul: South Korean President Lee Myung-bak stressed on Monday the need to bolster military readiness and sternly respond to North Korea over the deadly sinking of a warship, or risk more such provocations.
South Korea has taken a slew of punitive measures against North Korea, including resuming propaganda operations, after blaming Pyongyang for torpedoing the South Korean warship Cheonan in March. Forty-six South Korean sailors died.
North Korea flatly denies the allegation and has warned any retaliation would trigger war. The country`s military said on Saturday it would launch an all-out strike against any propaganda facilities South Korea used at the border and could even turn Seoul into "a sea of flame”. The North has made similar threats in the past.
Today, South Korean President Lee Myung-bak renewed calls for a strong response.
"If we fail to sternly respond to North Korea`s wrongdoing in cooperation with the international community and build up solid military readiness, a second and third provocation like the Cheonan incident can occur anytime," he said in a nationally-televised speech.
Lee also said he would revamp and strengthen South Korea`s military and hold some officers responsible for the sinking.
Lee didn`t name any top officers but his comments came a day after his top military officer offered to retire amid criticism over alleged negligence ahead of the sinking. The Cheonan attack occurred along the disputed sea border, where three bloody sea battles have been fought.