Seoul: South Korea`s military faces a
"desperately dangerous situation" after the sinking of a
warship and must respond sternly to any future North Korean
provocations, the new army chief said on Friday.
"With a resolute determination, the military must put
together all of its capabilities and resources to sternly deal
with any provocations by North Korea," General Hwang Eui-Don
said in his inauguration speech.
Hwang took over in a reshuffle of military top brass amid
criticism that the armed forces reacted sloppily to the
sinking of the corvette near the disputed sea border on March
26. A total of 46 sailors were killed.
State inspectors recommended that 13 generals, 10
lower-level officers and two civilian defence ministry
officials be punished. The country`s top military officer Lee
Sang-Eui offered his resignation.
South Korea announced non-military reprisals against its
impoverished communist neighbour after a multinational
investigation concluded last month that a submarine from the
North had torpedoed the Cheonoan.
The sinking has dramatically escalated tensions on the
peninsula ahead of the 60th anniversary of the start of the
Korean war on June 25, 1950 and has stalled efforts at
resuming North Korea nuclear disarmament negotiations.