South Korea Halts All Trade to North Over Ship Sinking

Seoul has taken its first major retaliation for North Korea‘s alleged shooting down of a South Korean warship, halting all trade between the two neighboring East Asian countries. South Korean President Lee Myung-bak said on Monday that the North’s recent transgression should no longer be tolerated.

“We have always tolerated North Korea’s brutality, time and again…But now things are different,” Lee said in a speech, adding that “North Korea will pay a price corresponding to its provocative acts.” Aside from the suspension of trade, South Korea is also closing its naval territory from the North’s ships.

The sanctions come after investigations revealed that the South Korean military ship, Cheonan, was shot by a North Korean torpedo. North Korea has denied the accusations, even threatening war if it is punished for the incident.

Lee has also vowed that South Korea’s “combat capabilities will be reinforced drastically,” adding that Seoul will immediately exercise its “right of self-defense” if the country’s “territorial waters, airspace or territory are violated.”