1. What will China do? What else can the international community agree to do to North Korea? Stephan Haggard of UC-San Diego doesn’t think there is much they can/will do: “South Korea may want to take this issue to the U.N. Security Council, but I don’t see anything that the five Security Council members can sign on to other than what they have been already doing”
So, the ball would then be back in South Korea’s court. And I think doing essentially little to nothing in the absence of international action would send the wrong signal to the North. Furthermore, how would a minimalist response impact the conservative ruling party that came to power promising a tougher line than its predecessor and its “Sunshine Policy”?
2. President Lee Myung-bak met with all of his top military commanders today. This is the first time such a meeting like this has ever happened in South Korea. I wish I could have been a fly on the wall! Preparedness was on the agenda.
3. Two top South Korean officials have vowed revenge. Last week, Chief of Naval Operations Adm. Kim Sung-chan said: “We’ll never forgive whoever inflicted this great pain on us. We will track them down to the end and we will, by all means, make them pay.” This week, Defense Minister Kim Tae-young reportedly argued: “I agree with Adm. Kim. After finding the cause of the incident, we should pay back those responsible for killing our sailors. That’s my opinion.” He also added, “retaliation, in whatever form it takes, must be done.”
But what do other key leaders in South Korea think? And what about those in other states?