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SKorea must respond sternly to NKorea attacks: army chief


South Korean Army

SEOUL (AFP): South Korea's military faces a "desperately dangerous situation" after the sinking of a warship and must respond sternly to any future North Korean provocations, the new army chief has said.

"With a resolute determination, the military must put together all of its capabilities and resources to sternly deal with any provocations by North Korea," General Hwang Eui-Don said in his inauguration speech Friday.

Hwang took over in a reshuffle of military top brass amid criticism that the armed forces reacted sloppily to the sinking of the corvette near the disputed sea border on March 26. A total of 46 sailors were killed.

State inspectors recommended that 13 generals, 10 lower-level officers and two civilian defence ministry officials be punished. The country's top military officer Lee Sang-Eui offered his resignation.

South Korea announced non-military reprisals against its impoverished communist neighbour after a multinational investigation concluded last month that a submarine from the North had torpedoed the Cheonoan.

The sinking has dramatically escalated tensions on the peninsula ahead of the 60th anniversary of the start of the Korean War on June 25, 1950 and has stalled efforts at resuming North Korea nuclear disarmament negotiations.

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North   South   Korea   military   

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