China Power

Lee Talks Tough

Lee Myung-bak strikes a tough note at the Shangri-la Dialogue over the Cheonan sinking.

South Korean President Lee Myung-bak took an uncompromising line in his keynote address to the Shangri-la Dialogue over the sinking of the Cheonan. Speaking about 15 minutes ago, Lee said that South Korea had referred the issue to the UN Security Council and he dismissed as 'laughable' the claims by Pyongyang that the US was responsible for the incident and trying to frame North Korea.

Lee, giving his first overseas address since the results of a multi-country investigation into the sinking were announced, stated that North Korea has repeatedly attacked South Korea and that Seoul had time and again exercised patience. But he said that if the country was once again to tolerate North Korea's 'blatant act of violence', that it would simply serve to endanger peace on the Korean Peninsula.

Lee went on to demand that North Korea admit its wrongdoing and pledge never to engage in such 'reprehensible' action. When asked in the Q&A session what he would like to see China do in response to the attack on the Cheonan, Lee wouldn't be drawn specifically on what he would like it to do to exert pressure on Pyongyang, but he said he believed that Beijing still enjoyed the most leverage over the country and that he hoped China would carry out its role and responsibilities commensurate with its standing in the international community.

Will it take up the call? I'll post again if there's anything else noteworthy from the ongoing Q&A session.