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

Video One Year After Thai Coup, No End in Sight for Military Rule

Since carrying out the May 22, 2014 coup, the general has retired from the military but is still firmly in charge More

Goodbye, New York

This is what the fastest-growing big cities in America have in common More

Job-Seeking Bangladeshis Risk Lives to Find Work

The number of Bangladeshi migrants on smugglers’ boats bound for Southeast Asian countries has soared in the past two years 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.
Turkey's Main Opposition Party Hopes for Election Breakthroughi
X
May 22, 2015 10:23 AM
Turkey’s main opposition Republican People’s Party has sought an image change ahead of the June 7 general election. The move comes after suffering successive defeats at the hands of the Islamist-rooted AK Party, which has portrayed it as hostile to religion. Dorian Jones reports from the western city of Izmir.
Video

Video Turkey's Main Opposition Party Hopes for Election Breakthrough

Turkey’s main opposition Republican People’s Party has sought an image change ahead of the June 7 general election. The move comes after suffering successive defeats at the hands of the Islamist-rooted AK Party, which has portrayed it as hostile to religion. Dorian Jones reports from the western city of Izmir.
Video

Video Europe Follows US Lead in Tackling ‘Conflict Minerals’

Metals mined from conflict zones in places like the Democratic Republic of Congo are often sold by warlords to buy weapons. This week European lawmakers voted to force manufacturers to prove that their supply chains are not inadvertently fueling conflicts and human rights abuses. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video Class Tackles Questions of Race, Discrimination

Unrest in some U.S. cities is more than just a trending news item at Ladue Middle School in St. Louis, Missouri. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, it’s a focus of a multicultural studies class engaging students in wide-ranging discussions about racial tensions and police aggression.
Video

Video Mind-Controlled Prosthetics Are Getting Closer

Scientists and engineers are making substantial advances towards the ultimate goal in prosthetics – creation of limbs that can be controlled by the wearer’s mind. Thanks to sophisticated sensors capable of picking up the brain’s signals, an amputee in Iceland is literally bringing us one step closer to that goal. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Afghan Economy Sinks As Foreign Troops Depart

As international troops prepare to leave Afghanistan, and many foreign aid groups follow, Afghans are grappling with how the exodus will affect the country's fragile economy. Ayesha Tanzeem reports from the Afghan capital, Kabul.
Video

Video Poverty, Ignorance Force Underage Girls Into Marriage

The recent marriage of a 17-year old Chechen girl to a local police chief who was 30 years older and already had a wife caused an outcry in Russia and beyond. The bride was reportedly forced to marry and her parents were intimidated into giving their consent. The union spotlighted yet again the plight of many underage girls in developing countries. Zlatica Hoke reports poverty, ignorance and fear are behind the practice, especially in Asia and Africa.
Video

Video South Korea Marks Gwangju Uprising Anniversary

South Korea this week marked the 35th anniversary of a protest that turned deadly. The Gwangju Uprising is credited with starting the country’s democratic revolution after it was violently quelled by South Korea’s former military rulers. But as Jason Strother reports, some observers worry that democracy has recently been eroded.
Video

Video California’s Water System Not Created To Handle Current Drought

The drought in California is moving into its fourth year. While the state's governor is mandating a reduction in urban water use, most of the water used in California is for agriculture. But both city dwellers and farmers are feeling the impact of the drought. Some experts say the state’s water system was not created to handle long periods of drought. Elizabeth Lee reports from Ventura County, an agricultural region just northwest of Los Angeles.
Video

Video How to Clone a Mammoth: The Science of De-Extinction

An international team of scientists has sequenced the complete genome of the woolly mammoth. Led by the Swedish Museum of Natural History in Stockholm, the work opens the door to recreate the huge herbivore, which last roamed the Earth 4,000 years ago. VOA’s Rosanne Skirble considers the science of de-extinction and its place on the planet
Video

Video Blind Boy Defines His Life with Music

Cole Moran was born blind. He also has cognitive delays and other birth defects. He has to learn everything by ear. Nevertheless, the 12-year-old has had an insatiable love for music since he was born. VOA’s June Soh introduces us to the young phenomenal harmonica player.

VOA Blogs