The Straits Times
Published on Oct 18, 2012

S. Korea president in surprise visit to island near N. Korea


SEOUL (AFP) - South Korean President Lee Myung Bak made a surprise visit on Thursday to an island near the tense border with North Korea that was shelled by Pyongyang two years ago, a spokeswoman said.

"We must defend (the maritime border) to the last man," Mr Lee was quoted as saying by the Yonhap news agency as he inspected an anti-artillery radar unit and artillery company on Yeonpyeong island.

"If North Korea provokes us, we have to retaliate strongly," Mr Lee said.

Presidential spokesman Lee Mi Yon said Mr Lee's visit - his first to the island since taking office in early 2008 - was aimed at "checking the security status there ahead of the second anniversary of the shelling".