Last Updated: Sun Oct 17, 2010 00:23 am (KSA) 21:23 pm (GMT)

World must act on SKorean ship sinking: Clinton

US State Secretary Clinton has warned North Korea to halt what she called its provocations and threats
US State Secretary Clinton has warned North Korea to halt what she called its provocations and threats

United States Secretary of State Hillary Clinton warned North Korea Wednesday to halt what she called its provocations and threats, and said the world must respond to its sinking of a South Korean warship, as the South vowed to punish the North for the warship sinking.

Clinton, who is visiting Seoul to show solidarity amid rising inter-Korean tensions, also said the United States was reviewing additional options to hold the North accountable.

"This was an unacceptable provocation by North Korea and the international community has a responsibility and a duty to respond," Clinton told reporters after talks with South Korean leaders.

"Fashioning a response"

 This was an unacceptable provocation by North Korea and the international community has a responsibility and a duty to respond 
U.S. State Secretary Hillary Clinton

The ship sinking "requires a strong but measured response," she said, although she did not elaborate.

Clinton said the United States would be consulting with South Korea and members of the U.N. Security Council on what the appropriate action would be, but she declined to offer a timeline for action.

"We're very confident in the South Korean leadership, and their decision about how and when to move forward is one that we respect and will support," she said.

She spent just a few hours in Seoul discussing possible international responses with South Korean leaders. North Korea denies it was responsible for the incident and has threatened to retaliate if action is taken against it.

Clinton touched down in the South Korean capital Wednesday after intense discussions on the deteriorating situation with Chinese officials in Beijing.

"I believe that the Chinese understand the seriousness of this issue and are willing to listen to the concerns expressed by both South Korea and the United States," she said Wednesday. "We expect to be working with China as we move forward in fashioning a response."

Asked about the possibility of China or Russia blocking action by the U.N. Security Council, South Korean Foreign Minister Yu Myung-hwan said they "will take time, I'm sure, but they will not be able to deny the facts."

Clinton called the investigation into the sinking, which killed 46 sailors, "very thorough, highly professional" and "very convincing." She said both the United States and South Korea had offered China "additional information and briefings about the underlying facts of that event."

"We hope that China will take us up on our offer to really understand the details of what happened and the objectivity of the investigation that led to the conclusions," she said.

Further tensions

South Korea, meanwhile, vowed Wednesday to punish North Korea for sinking its warship despite the hardline regime's threat to sever all ties.

Further upping the stakes in a standoff that has fuelled regional tensions, the North's military said it would block access to a jointly run industrial estate if the South resumes cross-border propaganda broadcasts.

The South Monday announced a package of reprisals, including a halt to most trade. It is also mounting a diplomatic drive to punish the North through the United Nations Security Council.

The North says the South faked evidence of its involvement in the sinking in an attempt to fuel confrontation for domestic political reasons. It threatens "all-out war" against any punitive moves.

The regime announced late Tuesday that it was breaking all links in protest at Seoul's claims, and banning South Korean ships and planes from its territorial waters and airspace.

The North notified the South earlier that it had shut down two communications lines, but not one used to approve access to Kaesong where 42,000 North Koreans work in 110 South Korean-funded factories.

But later in the day, its military threatened to block access to the industrial park if the loudspeaker broadcasts go ahead. The military also repeated a threat to open fire at the speakers.

The South has decided to resume the broadcasts after a lapse of six years as part of its reprisals and has begun installing loudspeakers along the heavily fortified frontier.

The transport ministry in Seoul said it had already instructed South Korean airlines on Monday to avoid the North's airspace as tensions rose.

Comments »

Post Your Comment »

Social Media »