South Korean President Lee Myung-bak makes a speech in Seoul May 24, 2010. Lee Myung-bak said Monday his country will resort to measures of self-defense in case of further military provocation of the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK), calling Pyongyang's alleged sinking of its warship in late March work of a surprise torpedo attack. (Xinhua)
SEOUL, May 25 (Xinhua) -- South Korean President Lee Myung-bak on Tuesday gave his backing to readopting the official description of the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK) as the "main enemy," following Seoul's public accusation of its northern rival of deliberately sinking its warship in March, local media reported.
"Our military failed to clarify the notion of the main enemy for the past decade," Lee said at a meeting with senior opinion leaders including former prime ministers and parliament speakers, according to Lee's office.
"We've been only focused on potential threats outside the Korean peninsula," he added.
The remarks come as the government is reportedly moving to revive the controversial concept of the "main enemy" in its biennial defense white paper, the first time in six years, as it concluded last week that Pyongyang was behind the sinking of the warship that killed 46 sailors.
Seoul has announced a series of punitive measures against the DPRK a day ago, which include anti-submarine drills with the United States, ban on access of DPRK vessels to South Korean waters and halt of almost all bilateral trade relations and exchanges.
Lee has strongly condemned Pyongyang of violating the United Nations Charter and the Korean War Armistice Agreement, and warned that he would invoke rights to self-defense in case of further DPRK aggression.
The notion of the "main enemy," first used officially in 1995, was dropped in 2004 under Lee's liberal predecessor Roh Moo-hyun and was replaced with more nuanced "direct military threat" amid growing reconciliatory mood between South Korea and the DPRK.