US prevented S Korea strike on North - Gates

2014-01-15 14:14
Robert Gates. (Charles Dharapak, AP)

Robert Gates. (Charles Dharapak, AP)

Multimedia   ·   User Galleries   ·   News in Pictures Send us your pictures  ·  Send us your stories

kalahari.com

  • The Amateur
    A gripping read that reveals never before published details about the Obama administration's... Now R321.00
    buy now
Seoul - South Korea declined to comment on Wednesday on revelations that the United States talked it down from launching a retaliatory air strike on North Korea in 2010.

The claims were made in the newly published memoir of former US defence secretary Robert Gates, in which he also describes former South Korean president Roh Moo-Hyun as "probably a little bit crazy".

The 2010 incident followed the North's surprise shelling of a South Korean border island in November of that year.

The attack triggered what Gates labelled a "very dangerous crisis", with the South Korean government of then-president Lee Myung-Bak initially insisting on a robust military response.

"South Korea's original plans for retaliation were, we thought, disproportionately aggressive, involving both aircraft and artillery," Gates wrote in his memoir.

"We were worried the exchanges could escalate dangerously," he added.

Over the next few days, Gates said he, US President Barack Obama and then secretary of state Hillary Clinton had numerous telephone calls with their South Korean counterparts in an effort to calm things down.

"Ultimately, South Korea simply returned artillery fire on the location of the North Koreans' batteries that had started the whole affair," he said.

No comment

The South Korean government declined to confirm Gates's version of events.

"We have no comment," a defence ministry spokesperson told AFP.

There are currently more than 28 000 US troops stationed in South Korea and under the terms of their mutual defence pact, the United States would assume overall military command of their joint forces in the event of a full-scale conflict.

Because the 1950-53 Korean War concluded with a ceasefire rather than a peace treaty, South and North Korea technically remain at war.

The risk of escalation after the shelling of Yeonpyeong Island was especially high, with South Korea's patience at breaking point following the recent sinking of one of its warships by what it said was a North Korean submarine.

According to Gates, the North's only major ally China had helped ease tensions by simultaneously "weighing in with the North's leaders to wind down the situation".

In his memoir, Gates spoke of his admiration for Lee Myung-Bak, saying the conservative president was "tough-minded, realistic and very pro-American".

This assessment contrasted sharply with his view of Lee's predecessor, the liberal Roh Moo-Hyun, who Gates described as "anti-American and probably a little crazy".

Gates professed astonishment at Roh telling him that the two biggest security threats in Asia were the United States and Japan.

Roh served as president from 2003 to 2008. In 2009, he jumped to his death from a cliff behind his retirement home after being questioned by prosecutors about suspected corruption scandals involving his family.

Read more on:    barack obama  |  robert gates  |  south korea  |  us
NEXT ON NEWS24X
SHARE:

Read News24’s Comments Policy

24.com publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
3 comments
Add your comment
Comment 0 characters remaining
 

Inside News24

 
/News
 

Get fit on a budget

It’s time to throw the “I can’t afford to exercise” excuse out the window.

 
 

Where were you when you last felt alive?

Tips for paddling your first Dusi
Climbing the world’s largest stone arch
Awesome extreme sports people
Watch: 2015 Absa Cape Epic route

Jobs in Cape Town [change area]

Jobs in Western Cape region

HR Officer

Cape Town CBD
Inkokheli Appointments
Up to R240 000 Per Year

Senior Roads Engineer

Cape Town CBD
Communicate Cape Town Engineering
R600 000 - R800 000 Per Year

BEE Consultant

Somerset West
Helderberg Personnel cc
R20 000 - R30 000 Per Month

Property [change area]

Travel - Look, Book, Go!

Magical Massinga

Spend 5 nights at the gorgeous Massinga Beach Lodge in Mozambique and only pay for 4 from R13 220 per person sharing. Includes return flights, accommodation, transfers and romantic turndown. Book now!

Kalahari.com - shop online today

Seen something you like in our catalogue?

Find the perfect gift and save up to R5000 – As seen on the catalogue. Hurry and shop now!

Save up to R1000 on Hisense smartphones!

View the large range of Hisense smartphones. Buy today and save up to R1000!

Toys 4 for the price of 3

Buy 4 toys and get the cheapest FREE! Offer valid while stocks last. Shop now!

Mind blowing prices – As seen on TV

Get mind blowing prices on 1000’s of products! Shop now.

Deal of the week!

Save R1200 on the Samsung 48” smart full HD LED television now only R8799. Buy now!

OLX Free Classifieds [change area]

Samsung Galaxy s4

Mobile, Cell Phones in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 24

Best bargain in big bay

Real Estate, Houses - Apartments for Sale in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 25

VW Golf 6, 1.6 Trendline (Excellent condition)

Vehicles, Cars in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 25

Horoscopes
Aquarius
Aquarius

You may prefer to be in charge because then you can call the shots. You are not as flexible as you like to make out to be and you...read more

There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.
 
English
Afrikaans
isiZulu

Hello 

Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.


Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire 24.com network.

Settings

Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.








Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.