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S. Korea president says nation's survival depends on unity


Published on Dec 28, 2010

(CNN) -- In the face of North Korean threats, South Korean President Lee Myung-bak stepped up his nationalist push, urging countrymen in a radio address "to stand together, united as one."

"There can be no difference between you and me when it comes to national security, because our lives and the survival of the nation depend on it," Lee said Monday.

The remarks marked the latest in the war of words between the communist North and free-enterprise South, which split after Japan's defeat in World War II. Over the past six decades, small-scale skirmishes have flared repeatedly along land and sea borders, including deadly naval clashes along the demarcation line in 1999, 2002 and 2009.

The situation, if anything, has worsened in recent months -- stirred by the sinking of a South Korean warship and deadly shelling of a border island. While there previously had been movement toward reconciliation, recent events have sparked demonstrations calling for Seoul to be bolder and more defiant.

Lee referenced such attacks as "provocations against us without the slightest hesitation" in his Sunday address, saying they proved that, "if we merely let the North have its own way, national security and peace cannot be guaranteed."

The president said that Seoul had "thus far shown patience, time and again (as it) struggled to maintain peace."

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