Welcome to the new Independent website. We hope you enjoy it and we value your feedback. Please contact us here.


Border islands to become 'fortresses'

South Korea's President promised yesterday to transform five islands that lie along the tense maritime border with North Korea into "military fortresses" impervious to the kind of deadly attack the rival neighbour launched last month.

As Seoul struggles to counter the widespread impression that its response was too weak and too slow, the new Defence Minister also ordered his top commanders to retaliate with force if attacked. President Lee Myung-bak demanded upgraded rules of engagement to allow the military to respond more forcefully to provocations.