Lee orders efforts to stem spread of armed clash with North Korea

President Lee Myung-bak on Tuesday called on the military to control the tense situation on the Korean Peninsula so that the North Korean provocation in the West Sea will not extend to a full-scale war.

The President made the instructive after being briefed by aides on the North’s firing of artillery shells on Yeonpyeong Island, causing injuries of local residents and soldiers.

“(The military) should manage it well not to make (the attack) an expanded war,” Lee was quoted as saying by a presidential spokesman.

Citizens watch a TV report on North Korea’s artillery attack on Yeonpyeong Island at Incheon port terminal Tuesday. (Yonhap News)

Lee also instructed the military to do its best to treat the injured soldiers.

A Cheong Wa Dae spokesperson also said that investigation is underway to confirm whether the North Korea’s artillery fire targeting the area near Baenggnyeong Island including Yeonpyeong Island is an act of aggression opposing a recent South naval drill being conducted near Baenggnyeong Island.

Spokesperson Kim Hee-jeong said in the briefing that “North Korea sent several complaint letters Tuesday morning saying the South Korea’s naval drill near Baenggnyeong Islands is an act of aggression toward the North and it is under investigation whether the complaint from the North earlier has to do with its firing artillery.”

President Lee presided over a hurriedly-arranged emergency meeting of ministers after hearing the report on the artillery fire by the North. President Lee and ministers related to defense and security discussed the government’s countermeasures.

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