Washington D.C. (November 23, 2010) – The White House Office of the Press Secretary released a statement from President Barack Obama, following the North Korean artillery shelling of South Korean island of Yeonpyeong on November 22. The attack reportedly killed two ROK soldiers.
“The United States strongly condemns this attack and calls on North Korea to halt its belligerent action and to fully abide by the terms of the Armistice Agreement,” said the statement. “The United States is firmly committed to the defense of our ally, the Republic of Korea, and to the maintenance of regional peace and stability.”
President Obama reportedly had a phone conversation with President Lee Myung-bak of the Republic of Korea, telling him that “the United States stands shoulder to shoulder with our close friend and ally, the Republic of Korea.”
The President strongly condemned the attack by North Korea on the South Korean island of Yeonpyeoung, which took the lives of at least two Koreans and injured many more. He told President Lee that North Korea must stop its provocative actions, which will only lead to further isolation, and fully abide by the terms of the Armistice Agreement and its obligations under international law.
Going forward, the United States remains firmly and fully committed to the defense of its ally the Republic of Korea. The United States will work with the international community to strongly condemn this outrageous action by North Korea, and to advance peace and security in the region.
The two Presidents agreed to hold combined military exercises and enhanced training in the days ahead to continue the close security cooperation between our two countries, and to underscore the strength of our Alliance and commitment to peace and security in the region.
In related news on November 23, 2010, the U.S. Special Representative for North Korea Policy Ambassador Stephen W. Bosworth, spoke to press regarding North Korea’s revelation of an advanced nuclear enrichment facility. North Korea’s uranium enrichment program was revealed in a report released last week by Dr. Siegfried Hecker, who was invited to view the facility in person.
Bosworth spoke at the Imperial Hotel in Tokyo. He is a former Ambassador to the Republic of Korea.
“We regard this development with great seriousness,” said Bosworth. “We do not consider it a crisis, but it is a very serious development.”
The North Koreans are in violation of a substantial number of international agreements that they have entered into and are in violation of UN Security Council resolutions, he added. The U.S. is in consultation with partners of the Six-Party process.
It is a serious development, he added, but at this time it does not call for a reassessment of the entire strategy toward the DPRK and its nuclear programs.
“We are committed to moving forward in very close coordination with our partners, particularly of course with our allies, the government of Japan and the government of South Korea.”
China adheres to the joint statement of September 2005 and said should think without question all of the partners are prepared to keep moving forward in its implementation. He added that it would be premature to comment on China’s perspective until a meeting regarding the matter is conducted.