News / Asia

US Promises 'Measured, Unified' Response to North Korean Attack

Smoke billows from South Korea's Yeonpyeong island near the border with North Korea, 23 Nov 2010
Smoke billows from South Korea's Yeonpyeong island near the border with North Korea, 23 Nov 2010

The United States on Tuesday called North Korea's artillery attack on a South Korean island earlier in the day "outrageous," but said there will be no precipitous response.  U.S. envoy for North Korea Stephen Bosworth is returning to Washington from Beijing after consultations with South Korean, Japanese and Chinese officials.

Officials here are not minimizing the seriousness of the artillery barrage, which came shortly after revelations of new North Korean nuclear activity.

But they say the Obama administration intends to move carefully and deliberately in the face of what the White House calls "belligerent action."

U.S. envoy for North Korea Stephen Bosworth, who was dispatched to the region earlier this week after Pyongyang revealed an apparent uranium enrichment plant, conferred with senior Chinese officials on the artillery attack.

Bosworth, who is due back in Washington on Wednesday, called the attack "aggression" and said the United States and China share the view that such conflict is "very undesirable."

State Department acting deputy spokesman Mark Toner said the artillery barrage that killed two South Korean soldiers and wounded several others, including civilians, was an unprovoked military assault.

He said the Obama administration plans a "measured and unified" response, working with China and other nations in the six-party talks on North Korea's nuclear program.

Toner did not rule out future engagement with North Korea.  But he said Pyongyang will not be rewarded for belligerency.

"North Korea's behavior has been very, very bad; provocative and belligerent.  And, again, we're not going to buy into that cycle of rewarding that kind of behavior.  We're in a spot now where we just feel that by working through the six-party process, by working with our partners, we're going to take a deliberate, slow approach to responding to this latest provocation," said Toner.

China, North Korea's main ally and aid provider, has had a muted response to the artillery attack and recent nuclear developments - refraining from condemning Pyongyang and calling for a resumption of the six-party talks it chairs.

That prompted criticism from U.S. analysts, including Asia expert Bruce Klingner of the Washington-based Heritage Foundation.  He said Chinese help to North Korea undercuts U.S. efforts to present a united front against Pyongyang's behavior.

"What China has to do is step up to the plate, abide by international agreements, international commitments," Klinger said. "And instead, what it's been doing is increasing its economic engagement with North Korea in an unconditional manner, which really undermines the effectiveness of the U.N. sanctions as well as the conditionality that's inherently part of the six-party negotiations."

In 2005, the six-party talks produced an agreement in principle by which North Korea would give up its nuclear program in return for aid and diplomatic benefits.

But the talks have been stalled and were dealt another setback this week with reports that Pyongyang is building a new light-water reactor, and that it has secretly built a uranium enrichment plant.

U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton had a closed-door meeting here Tuesday with American nuclear scientist Siegfried Hecker, who revealed late last week that on a recent trip to North Korea, he was shown an enrichment facility.

Such a plant would give North Korea an alternate way to expand what is believed to be a small arsenal of plutonium-based nuclear weapons and potentially export nuclear technology.

You May Like

China Investigates Former Powerful Security Chief

Former security chief and member of Politburo Standing Committee, Zhou Yongkang, under investigation for suspected 'serious disciplinary violation' More

India, US Look to Reset Ties During Kerry Visit

This week's talks will be first high level interaction between two countries since Prime Minister Narendra Modi took charge More

Video Young African Leadership Program Renamed to Honor Mandela

YALI program, launched by President Obama in 2010, aims to build skills in business, entrepreneurship, public management and civic leadership More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Vietnamese Staging Chinese Product Boycott After Oil Rig Spati
X
Reasey Poch
July 28, 2014 7:18 PM
China recently pulled an oil rig from an area of the disputed South China Sea that Vietnam also claims. Despite the action, the incident has had a lingering effect on consumers in Vietnam. VOA's Reasey Poch reports from Hanoi on an effort to boycott Chinese products.
Video

Video Vietnamese Staging Chinese Product Boycott After Oil Rig Spat

China recently pulled an oil rig from an area of the disputed South China Sea that Vietnam also claims. Despite the action, the incident has had a lingering effect on consumers in Vietnam. VOA's Reasey Poch reports from Hanoi on an effort to boycott Chinese products.
Video

Video ESA Spacecraft to Land on a Comet

After a long flight through deep space, a European Space Agency probe is finally approaching its target -- a comet millions of kilometers away from earth. Scientists say the mission may lead to some startling discoveries about the origins of the water on earth. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Young Africans Arrive in US for Leadership Program

President Barack Obama's Young African Leadership Initiative has brought hundreds of young Africans to the United States for a six-week program aimed at building their knowledge and skills in fields such as public administration and business. Out of the 50,000 young Africans who applied for the program, just one percent was accepted. VOA's Laurel Bowman caught up with some of those who made the cut and has this report.
Video

Video In Honduras, Amnesty Rumors Fuel US Migration Surges

False rumors in Central America are fueling the current surge of undocumented young people being apprehended at the U.S. border. The inaccurate claims suggest the U.S. will give amnesty to young migrants from the region. As VOA's Brian Padden reports from Honduras, these rumors trace back to President Obama's 2012 executive order to halt deportations for some young undocumented immigrants already living in the United States.
Video

Video Students in Business for Themselves

They're only high school students, but they are making accessories for shoes, fabricating backpacks and doing product photography - all through their own businesses. It's the result of a partnership between a non-profit organization that teaches entrepreneurship and their schools. VOA's Mike O'Sullivan and Deyane Moses met the budding entrepreneurs near Los Angeles.
Video

Video Astronauts Train in Underwater Lab

In the world’s only underwater laboratory, four U.S. astronauts train for a planned visit to an asteroid. The lab - called Aquarius- is located five kilometers off Key Largo, in southern Florida. Living in close quarters and making excursions only into the surrounding ocean, they try to simulate the daily routine of a crew that will someday travel to collect samples of a rock orbiting far away from earth. VOA’s George Putic has more.

AppleAndroid