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N.K. resumes provocative actions ahead of Cheonan뭩 sinking anniversary
MARCH 24, 2014 08:22  
Bereaved families of 46 seamen killed in the sunken South Korean naval corvette Cheonan feel all the more sad ahead of the fourth anniversary (Wednesday- of the tragic sinking caused by North Korea뭩 torpedo attack. Lee In-ok, 50, the father of the late staff sergeant Lee Yong-sang, said, 밃fter confirming that my son뭩 name was missing from the list of survivors, my wife fainted by me, and I lost my mind, in recalling the day four years ago. Yoon Cheong-ja, the mother of the late first sergeant Min Pyeong-gi, visited Ethiopia in Africa, where she donated 20 million won (18,500 U.S. dollars) to support the construction of a war memorial for Ethiopian war veterans who participated in the Korean War, and returned on Saturday. Noting she visited Ethiopia to convey gratitude to Ethiopians who lost their families just like her, she said, 밒 still cry at night due to thoughts about my son.

As if seeking to remind South Korea of the Cheonan뭩 sinking by its torpedo attack, North Korea fired a total of 46 rockets early in the morning on Saturday and Sunday. The latest firing is the seventh mass firing of Scud Missiles, multiple rockets, and rockets by the North since February. They are attack weapons only targeting the South. The North claims the firings to be its reaction to South Korea-U.S. joint military drills, but no one can predict when the North will stage aggressions again. Rumors have it that the North will construct and deploy ships that can speed more than 100 km per hour designed for surprise penetration attacks into the South.

The North뭩 behaviors could have multiple purposes targeting South Korea, the U.S., China and Japan. South Korea will hold bilateral summit with China on Monday and three-way summit with the U.S. and Japan on Tuesday in the Hague, the Netherlands. The leaders of South Korea, the U.S., China and Japan should warn the North that it would have nothing to gain through provocations. Only when they can disassemble the North뭩 will to commit provocations, then will they see the glimmer of hope to force Pyongyang to give up its nuclear ambitions.

The South Korean military should beef up its defense readiness to ensure that tragic incidents such as the Cheonan뭩 sinking would never happen again. South Korea still lacks the capacity to adequately block the North뭩 possible surprise attacks mobilizing its short-range missiles and multiple rockets. The introduction by the South of new Patriot missiles (PAC-3) designed to intercept the North뭩 ballistic missile will only be done in 2016. Even by changing the order of priorities, the South should beef up readiness to counter the North뭩 provocations.

The number of people who have taken study tours to the Cheonan exhibited at the Second Naval Command in Pyeongtaek, Gyeonggi Province, has exceeded 730,000. The hull of the Cheonan that is widely torn apart illustrates that the vessel was sunken due to a powerful torpedo attack. Nonetheless, there are people who still uphold false claims concerning the Cheonan뭩 sinking by a torpedo attack, or those who believe that it was not committed by the North. Many of these people would have had no chance to inspect the Cheonan뭩 body on display at the Second Naval Command. As far as national defense is concerned, only when the people form a united front, then will the South be able to block the North from making misjudgment to launch an attack.

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