11/27/2010, 00.00
KOREA
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Seoul promises to "avenge slain soldiers'

The funerals of soldiers killed by the North Korea bombing create further tensions in the area, on the eve of joint naval manoeuvres between Seoul and Washington. Pyongyang reiterates that it will strike “any invader without mercy" ". Clinton assures China that warns against "unauthorised military action " off its coasts.

Seoul’s Navy Commander, Nak-Joon Yoo who said, during the funeral ceremony broadcast live on television and holdinh the photos of the two soldiers "we will certainly avenge your death."

The high ranking official’s words reflect national sentiment traumatised by the North Korean attack and above all the reaction judged ineffective. Protests continue (pictured), while the defence minister, who resigned Thursday, was significantly replaced by a military officer, former Chief of Staff, Kim Kwan-Jin. And today both the Korea Times and Korea Joongang speak of a restructure and strengthening of  the army to avoid a new "humiliation" by the north.

Pyongyang, for its part, repeated today that it will "mercilessly" strike anyone who intrudes within its borders, land, sea or sky. An obvious reference to the naval manoeuvres, which Beijing has also warned against "unauthorised military action " off its coasts.

This intervention by Beijing, North Korea's major ally, is not the one hoped for by the United States, which had asked China to condemn Pyongyang’s aggression to. The Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, has also spoken by telephone with her counterpart, Yang Jiechi, to ensure that the manoeuvres have only a "defensive" nature of "deterrence" towards North Korea and not towards China.

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