Lee vows strong response to any NK provocation
President Lee Myung-bak said Monday South Korea will not tolerate, and respond strongly to any provocation by North Korea, urging Pyongyang's new leadership to focus on improving the lives of its hunger-stricken people.
"We do not want a military competition with North Korea. We have to compete over how to make the people live happily," Lee said during a meeting with senior members of the National Unification Advisory Council, adding he hopes the North will move in that direction under its new leadership.
"However, there will be a strong response that does not tolerate any provocation. That is to deter North Korean provocations, not to have a fight. We, the Republic of Korea, are not a country that wants war. We are a country that loves peace," he said.
After the North's failed rocket launch earlier this month, concerns have grown that the communist regime could stage additional provocations. Experts have talked of the possibility of a nuclear test, which will be the North's third, as well as more missile tests and border clashes.
Referring to the pro-democracy movement that swept through the Middle East and toppled dictators in Egypt and elsewhere, Lee said he expects the autocratic regime of Syria to face the same fate, as "nobody can block the wind."
"We have to prepare very peacefully for new changes," Lee said.
Lee did not elaborate, but the remark could be seen as suggesting that autocratic regimes are supposed to fall ultimately, and North Korea cannot be an exception. (Yonhap)