President Yoon Suk Yeol reconfirmed the attacks by North Korea on the Cheonan warship and Yeonpyeong Island in 2010 as armed provocations before vowing to ensure that Pyongyang pays for its reckless provocations.
At a ceremony marking the annual West Sea Defense Day on Friday, Yoon honored the Navy and the Marines for defending the de facto maritime border and the sovereign territory of the South from the North's numerous armed provocations.
The president said the country would have no future if it did not remember and respect those that have made the ultimate sacrifice out of devotion to the country, pledging to forever commemorate the great heroes that defended the nation’s freedom.
Referring to the North's advancement in nuclear development and the unprecedented level of missile provocations, Yoon promised to reinforce the nation's three-pronged defense system and to solidify security cooperation with the U.S. and Japan.
The president also called the name of each and every one of the 55 service members who lost their lives in the 2010 Cheonan and Yeonpyeong incidents, as well as the 2002 inter-Korean maritime clash along the western border.