Seoul, June 25 (IANS) South Korea on Saturday vowed a stern response to any North Korean provocation as the nation observed the 72nd anniversary of the outbreak of the 1950-53 Korean War.
In his speech during a ceremony marking the anniversary, Prime Minister Han Duck-soo said the North's recent missile launches and nuclear preparations have escalated tensions beyond the Korean Peninsula and are posing a threat to international peace, reports Yonhap News Agency.
'The government will strengthen its defensive posture based on the firm alliance between South Korea and the US, and respond swiftly and sternly using all means necessary,' he said.
'The government will never forget peace can be achieved on the basis of strong defence and security,' Han said.
South Korea will also seek diplomatic efforts to gain cooperation from the international community to achieve peace on the peninsula, and to provide humanitarian assistance to the North, he added.
Han expressed gratitude to the veterans of the Korean War and pledged to protect the Korean Peninsula in its path toward peace and prosperity just like the veterans fought for the freedom of the country.
The Korean War began on June 25, 1950 when North Korea invaded South Korea following clashes along the border and rebellions in the latter nation.
North Korea was supported by China and the erstwhile Soviet Union, while South Korea was backed by the UN, principally the US.
The fighting ended with an armistice on July 27, 1953.
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