Or so President Lee told the Chosun Ilbo.

In an interview with Korea’s paper of record, Lee said after North Korea shelled Yeonpyeongdo in November 2010, he told China that from now on, he would use the Army, Navy and Air Force to retaliate against not only the source of any North Korean provocation, but also support units as well. He also told the Chinese to tell this to the North Koreans, which they did during Dai Bingguo subsequent visit to Pyongyang.

He said this because he believed North Korea does what it does because it thinks the Americans won’t let the South retaliate (Marmot’s Note: He’s probably right about this, which makes the situation even more dangerous since even the long-suffering South Korean military can take only so much shit from the North Koreans. One of these days, they’re going to snap).

Seemingly proving his point, Lee said at the time of the Yeonpyeongdo Incident, he ordered the Air Force to strike North Korean targets, but a high-ranking military official blocked him, saying that the Air Force mustn’t get involved per the rules of engagement, and that they needed to consult with the Americans.

Lee said he later corrected the rules of engagement so that commanders on the ground could respond immediately and make their reports later. He also said the Americans at first opposed Lee’s plan to expand retaliation to support units, but the Koreans got their way in the end thanks to strong persuasion.

Lee said the most heartbreaking incident during his term was the loss of 46 sailors in the Cheonan sinking. He said it hurt when the men were killed, and it hurt again when people said the attack was staged.

When asked what he was most proud of, it was that Korea maintained plus growth when the world was experiencing minus growth due to the economic crisis. He said the world recognized this, and this made Korea the chair of the G20 summit.