Go to Contents Go to Navigation

Ex-President Lee ordered all-out retaliation after North's Yeonpyeong bombardment in 2010

All Headlines 11:37 December 13, 2015

SEOUL, Dec. 13 (Yonhap) -- Former President Lee Myung-bak ordered an air strike of a North Korean military compound when the North shelled the South Korean border island of Yeonpyeong in 2010, a memoir by Lee's former chief press secretary said Sunday.

In the memoir titled "Days of Challenges" that was released Sunday, Lee Dong-kwan, a former spokesman and chief press secretary for Lee Myung-bak, refuted the long-running claim that the president instructed the military to stop the North Korean shelling from spilling over.

Lee "ordered counterattacks involving all possible measures" on a North Korean military compound in Kaemori, said the former presidential secretary, who is running in the parliamentary elections slated for April 13.

One of those measures was for two F-15 fighter bombers, which were flown over the bombarded island, to be deployed for counterattacks, he said.

The North Korean bombardment of Yeonpyeong, one of South Korea's clusters of front-line islands in the Yellow Sea, took place while Lee was in his third year in office. The shelling killed four South Korean soldiers and civilians, and wounded 19 others.

The presidential order was not carried out, however, as military officials overrode the order with a United Nations Command rule that says a counterattack should be conducted with weapons of the same type and amount.

"The military officials hesitated about the military action, citing a need to discuss it with the United States Forces Korea," the former aide said.

He said non-military Cabinet members were more eager for a proactive counterattack, while military officials were not prepared enough, stressing that the two dispatched fighters were not even loaded with air-to-surface missiles.

The former presidential secretary also wrote about a behind-the-scene story involving Lee's summit meeting with then U.S. President George Bush in 2008.

"From now on, (the U.S.) will give intelligence to South Korea," the former presidential official said, quoting the U.S. president.

Until then, the U.S. withheld intelligence from South Korea because they believed U.S.-provided information was flowing to North Korea under the previous liberal administration of President Roh Moo-hyun, he said, stressing that the remarks are a clear sign that the South Korea-U.S. alliance is on the upturn.


Send Feedback
How can we improve?
Thanks for your feedback!