South Korean president: We’re done responding diplomatically to provocations

Six days after a North Korean artillery bombardment killed four people and heightened fears of an all-out conflict, South Korean President Lee Myung-bak took responsibility for failing to protect the country and said the South would now abandon its long-standing policy of not responding militarily to the North’s hostile acts…

“Despite all of these provocations,” Lee said, “we tolerated them in the belief that one day North Korea will change, and because of our hope for peace on the Korean Peninsula.” He said South Korea has continued to engage in talks with Pyongyang and has given humanitarian assistance to the economically troubled country, but North Korea continued its pursuit of nuclear weapons and continued its attacks.

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.”