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Park says iron-clad security is foundation of inter-Korean relations

2015/11/23 15:07

SEOUL, Nov. 23 (Yonhap) -- President Park Geun-hye stressed Monday that South Korea should keep an iron-clad security posture, saying it would serve as the major foundation for building healthy inter-Korean relations.

"An iron-clad security posture is an important basis for safeguarding South Korea's freedom and peace as well as building healthy inter-Korean relations," Park said in a video message at a ceremony to mark the fifth anniversary of the deadly North Korean shelling of the South's border island.

In what was North Korea's first attack on South Korean domain since the 1950-53 Korean War, scores of artillery rounds and rockets were fired on Yeonpyeong Island just south of the de facto inter-Korean sea border of the Northern Limit Line on Nov. 23, 2010.

The bombardment escalated into an artillery engagement between the Koreas, killing two South Korean soldiers and two civilians.

"I want our military to build up a perfect combat readiness posture so they can deal with any kind of threat or provocation without hesitation," Park said.

About 4,000 government officials and the bereaved families, including Prime Minister Hwang Kyo-ahn and Defense Minister Han Min-koo, gathered together at the War Memorial in Seoul to commemorate the fifth anniversary.

The ceremony also included a performance by elementary students from the island that re-enacted the 2010 engagement. Marine Corps servicemen also staged a group dance performance in commemoration.

The prime minister pledged that "the government and the military will foster powerful defense capabilities as to be able to protect the safety and peace of our nationals in any case."

   "Taking the North Korean provocation as a searing lesson, we should open up a new era of genuine peace," the prime minister said, also vowing government efforts for the reunification of the divided countries.

South Korea plans to conduct a firing drill near Yeonpyeong and its adjacent border islands later in the afternoon despite North Korea's warning of retaliation a day earlier.

Defense Minister Han Min-koo (front row, L) leaves the altar on Nov. 23, 2015, after paying respects for the two Marines who were killed in North Korea`s shelling attack on the border island of Yeonpyeong on this day in 2010. Two civilians were also killed and 16 others injured in the indiscriminate shelling by the North. (Yonhap)Defense Minister Han Min-koo (front row, L) leaves the altar on Nov. 23, 2015, after paying respects for the two Marines who were killed in North Korea`s shelling attack on the border island of Yeonpyeong on this day in 2010. Two civilians were also killed and 16 others injured in the indiscriminate shelling by the North. (Yonhap) pbr@yna.co.kr

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