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Shelling Attacks Sways South Korean Perspective


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Saturday, December 4, 2010 — (ABC News: Politics) –


By CALUM MACLEOD



SEOUL, Dec. 4, 2010





North Korea’s shelling of a South Korean island appears to have pushed public opinion in the South from conciliation toward calls for a cutoff of aid, a beefing up of military capabilities and rejection of Chinese intervention.




Opinion polls show that a greater percentage of South Koreans prefer military action against the North than did following the sinking of the South Korean ship Cheonan in March that cost the lives of 46 sailors.



That sentiment was reflected by President Lee Myung Bak’s choice for defense minister when he said today that South Korean jets will bomb North Korea should Pyongyang stage an attack similar to last week’s deadly artillery barrage.



Kim Kwan-jin told a parliamentary confirmation hearing that South Korea will use all its combat capabilities to retaliate.



“In case the enemy attacks our territory and people again, we will thoroughly retaliate to ensure that the enemy cannot provoke again,” Kim said.



Despite objections by the North and China to recent joint military drills with the United States, South Korea’s Joint Chiefs of Staff said it has asked the Pentagon to conduct “several more rounds” of exercises, according to the Yonhap News Agency.



Although China reiterated its offer to resume regional talks with the North, South Korean Foreign Minister Kim Sung Hwan and U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton agreed Thursday that the six-party talks should only resume after Pyongyang makes steps toward giving up its nuclear program, according to South Korea’s Foreign Ministry.



North Korea’s attack was “counterproductive” for North Korea, says Park Young Ho, a researcher at the Korea Institute for National Unification in Seoul.



“It gave the South Korean population a vivid lesson on the real characteristics and nature of the North Korean regime and system,” he says.



Many experts believe the Nov. 23 artillery barrage on Yeonpyeong island, which killed four people, is an attempt to show that 27-year-old Kim Jong Un is strong enough to inherit power from his father, Kim Jong Il.



To view the original article, click here: http://feeds.abcnews.com/click.phdo?i=562767b2705834df4188ddc1533d624c


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