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South Korea delivers setback to Somali pirates, and a warning to North Korea

Delivering what analysts saw as a thinly veiled warning to North Korea, South Korea President Lee Myung-bak praised his commandos' stunning rescue today of a freighter seized by Somali pirates.

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South Korean President Lee Myung-bak announces a statement on the South Korean navy's operation to rescue the crewmen of South Korean cargo ship in the Arabian Sea, at the presidential house in Seoul, South Korea, Friday, Jan. 21.

Chun Su-young/Yonhap/AP

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South Korea sought to portray its stunning rescue Friday of a cargo ship captured by Somali pirates as proof that it's ready and willing to take on aggressors from the Arabian Sea to North Korea.

An exultant President Lee Myung-bak appeared across national television networks Friday praising the Navy commandos who rescued all 21 crew members of the South Korean-owned freighter while killing eight pirates and detaining three.

"Our military carried out the operation perfectly under difficult circumstances," Mr. Lee said, adding: “We will not tolerate any behavior that threatens the lives and safety of our people in the future."

RELATED: Top 5 high-profile captures by Somali pirates

Analysts say Lee's address was a thinly veiled warning to Pyongyang that South Korean forces are prepared to fight.

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