China Power

Lee Talks (a Bit) Tougher

Seoul will take military action if provoked by North Korea again, a govt advisor says.

Just back from a post-keynote address press conference held following President Lee's speech to the Shangri-la Dialogue. The press conference was hosted by Chung Min Lee, a member of the president's Foreign Policy Advisory Council, who was there to answer any follow up questions on the South Korean government's position on issues raised in the president's speech.

In the press conference, Lee laid out in no uncertain terms that any further 'unilateral, unprovoked military attack' by North Korea would result in a military response from South Korea. His message: 'If you do this one more time, we'll respond with some kind of military response.'

South Korea is keen to underscore whenever possible now that the sinking of the Cheonan was not an isolated incident, and both Lees pointed today to previous incidents such as the bombing of Korean Air flight 858 in November 1987 to underpin their argument that there's a pattern of behaviour that needs to be broken.

Lee added: 'The March 26 attack (on the Cheonan) wasn't an isolated incident that it thought of in the middle of the night. It would have taken…planning.'

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That's all for today. Tomorrow, sees US Defence Secretary Robert Gates and General Ma Xiaotian, Deputy Chief of General Staff of the People’s Liberation Army, addressing the summit. It will be interesting to see if there are any further indications on the state of Sino-US ties.