South Korea’s president stressed on Monday the need to bolster military readiness and sternly respond to North Korea over the deadly sinking of a warship, or risk more such provocations.

South Korea has taken a slew of punitive measures against North Korea, including resuming propaganda operations, after blaming Pyongyang for torpedoing the South Korean warship Cheonan in March. Forty-six South Korean sailors died.

North Korea flatly denies the allegation and has warned any retaliation would trigger war. The country’s military said on Saturday it would launch an all-out strike against any South Korean propaganda facilities at the border such as loudspeakers and could even turn Seoul into “a sea of flame.”

The North has made similar threats in the past. South Korea has reinstalled loudspeakers at the border after a six-year hiatus, but has yet to begin blaring propaganda from them.

On Monday, South Korean President Lee Myung—bak renewed calls for a strong response.

“If we fail to sternly respond to North Korea’s wrongdoing in cooperation with the international community and build up solid military readiness, a second and third provocation like the Cheonan incident can occur anytime,” he said in a nationally televised speech.

Keywords: Korean conflict

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