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Terrorism & Security

South Korea's leader calls Cheonan warship sinking 'no accident'

President Lee Myung-bak today called for a review of South Korea's defenses against the North, while using his strongest language yet to imply that the North sank the South's Cheonan warship on March 26.

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Ralph Cossa, head of the Pacific Forum CSIS (Center for Strategic and International Studies) in Honolulu, argues in an opinion piece in the South Korean newspaper The Korea Times that if the issue is referred to the UN Security Council and North Korea is found responsible, the response should go beyond simply levying more sanctions.

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Mr. Cossa argues that the Security Council should restrict all North Korean submarines and torpedo boats to port, and allow forces from the United States and the UN in the area to attack any that ignore the restriction.

But Security Council action could put China in a difficult position. While China did back international sanctions following the North's 2009 test of a nuclear weapon, Beijing would rather support Kim Jong-il than risk instability along its border "from the violent implosion of the impoverished state," according to Reuters.

China was apparently hosting Kim on Tuesday, after he took a secret train to China over the weekend.

The Christian Science Monitor reports that the North’s leader is likely to ask his ally for economic help after a botched currency reform last year probably worsened the nation’s food shortages.

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