"South Korea will abandon its long-standing policy of not responding militarily to the North's hostile acts", President Lee Myung-bak said, following the artillery bombardment of a South Korean island last week that killed four people, two of them civilians.
That means that some sense of sanity is returning to the Republic of Korea as they have decided not to be North Korea's abuse puppet. Weakness only encourages a bully. Cowards understand strength and resolve.
"In the past, North Korea has provoked us on many occasions, but this is the first time they have made a direct attack on South Korean soil," said Lee, making his first public remarks since the Nov. 23 attack on civilian-inhabited Yeonpyeong island heightened fears of an all-out conflict. "Launching a military attack on civilians is a crime against humanity, even during wartime.
Now, Lee said, "South Koreans realize that tolerance and generosity bring more provocation." He said that South Korea would strengthen its military capability and would "make North Korea pay the due price by all means for its provocation from now on."
Baek Seung-joo, a researcher at the Korea Institute for Defense Analysis, called the speech "a turning point for South Korean government policy dealing with North Korea...With the nation's support, Lee will make sure any further provocation is met with military action."
South Korea is taking steps to respond more quickly and more aggressively to attacks by North Korea. They are upgrading weaponry in border areas and are giving the military more flexible standards for returning fire (rules of engagement/ROE).
Kim Jong Eun, heir to the North Korean dictatorship may or may not be a figurehead for the North Korean military once his father is planted in the ground and a shrine is constructed over his withered corpse. The truth is that nobody will know how that will unfold until it happens. Clearly Kim Jung Il wants to see his bloodline linger in command of the crumbling nation.
Will China put North Korea in their place, or will they wait for a nuclear war to develop on their doorstep?