Clinton: U.S. ‘fully supports’ S. Korean president’s response to Cheonan attack

Today, South Korean President Lee Myung-bak harshly condemned North Korea for the March torpedoing of the South Korean ship Cheonan, which killed 46 onboard. He said almost all trade between the two Koreas is being canceled, and he demanded an apology from North Korea (though the odds of that happening are zero). Secretary Clinton, speaking ...

Presidental House via Getty Images
Presidental House via Getty Images
Presidental House via Getty Images

Today, South Korean President Lee Myung-bak harshly condemned North Korea for the March torpedoing of the South Korean ship Cheonan, which killed 46 onboard. He said almost all trade between the two Koreas is being canceled, and he demanded an apology from North Korea (though the odds of that happening are zero).

Secretary Clinton, speaking in Beijing, said she and the United States fully back him up:

The United States fully supports President Lee's responsible handling of the Cheonan incident, and the objective investigation that followed, which we and other international observers joined. The measures that President Lee announced in his speech are both prudent and entirely appropriate.

Today, South Korean President Lee Myung-bak harshly condemned North Korea for the March torpedoing of the South Korean ship Cheonan, which killed 46 onboard. He said almost all trade between the two Koreas is being canceled, and he demanded an apology from North Korea (though the odds of that happening are zero).

Secretary Clinton, speaking in Beijing, said she and the United States fully back him up:

The United States fully supports President Lee’s responsible handling of the Cheonan incident, and the objective investigation that followed, which we and other international observers joined. The measures that President Lee announced in his speech are both prudent and entirely appropriate.

The Republic of Korea can continue to count on the full support of the United States, as President Obama made clear when he spoke to President Lee last week.

First, we endorse President Lee’s call on North Korea to come forward with the facts regarding this act of aggression and, above all, stop its belligerence and threatening behavior.

Second, our support for South Korea’s defense is unequivocal, and President Obama has directed his military commanders to coordinate closely with their Korean counterparts to ensure readiness and to deter future aggression. As part of our ongoing dialogue, we will explore further enhancements to our joint posture on the Peninsula.

Third, we support President Lee’s call to bring this issue to the United Nations Security Council. I will be working with Ambassador Rice and our Korean counterparts, as well as Japan, China, and other UN Security Council member states to reach agreement on a way forward in the Council.

Fourth, President Obama has directed U.S. Government agencies to review their existing authorities and policies related to North Korea, to ensure that we have adequate measures in place, and to identify areas where adjustments would be appropriate.  

Preeti Aroon was copy chief at Foreign Policy from 2009 to 2016 and was an FP assistant editor from 2007 to 2009. Twitter: @pjaroonFP

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