- The Washington Times - Tuesday, July 2, 2002

From combined dispatches
SEOUL South Korea and the United States agreed yesterday to increase military surveillance of North Korea and strengthen rules of engagement after Saturday's bloody naval clash between the two Koreas, the South's defense ministry said.
Separately, South Korea President Kim Dae-jung said he would push ahead with his "sunshine policy" of seeking reconciliation with North Korea, despite the battle.
Mr. Kim said, "We will maintain the sunshine policy of firm security and peaceful resolution efforts."
Mr. Kim made his remarks during a state dinner in Tokyo hosted by Japanese Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi.
South Korea has enhanced security after two North Korean patrol ships sailed over the disputed sea border and fired on its boats, killing four South Korean sailors and wounding 19.
Both sides blame the other for sparking the clash, the worst such incident in three years. It was not clear how many North Korean casualties were incurred.
In Seoul, South Korean Defense Minister Kim Dong-shin met the commander in chief of U.S. forces, Gen. Leon LaPorte, yesterday and asked for his cooperation in revising military rules to minimize casualties and damage sustained in any fighting with North Korea, a defense ministry spokesman said.
Gen. LaPorte is also chief of combined South Korean-U.S. forces.
"They discussed ways to streamline the process of firing at the enemy when we're threatened seriously," the spokesman told Reuters news agency by telephone.
Under existing rules, the South Korean navy has to go through a five-phase process to fire at an enemy, and is not supposed to begin firing unless attacked, the spokesman said.
The United States has 37,000 troops stationed in South Korea to help deter North Korea from repeating a 1950 invasion that started the three-year Korean War.


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