SEOUL, MAY 26
With political and military tension increasing daily on the Korean Peninsula, Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton said Wednesday that Washington would stand beside Seoul as it seeks redress at the United Nations Security Council over North Korea’s sinking of a South Korean warship.
On Wednesday, the North Korean military threatened to “completely block South Korean personnel and vehicles” from a joint industrial park in the North Korean town of Kaesong if the South resumes psychological warfare against the North, mainly through propaganda broadcasts across the border. It also said it would attack and destroy the propaganda loudspeakers to be put up along the border by the South, calling them a “military provocation.”The North cut off some cross-border communication links and expelled eight South Korean government officials from the joint industrial park, South Korea’s Unification Ministry said.
Clinton stopped short of detailing what measures would be sought at the Security Council, where China, a veto-wielding member and a North Korean ally, was likely to block attempts to impose new sanctions. “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,” Clinton said at a news meet after meetings with the South Korean President, Lee Myung-bak, and Foreign Minister Yu Myung-hwan. “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 US.”
She spoke of the “immediate crisis” of the sinking that “requires a strong but measured response”.
North Korea has denied any role in the sinking of the ship and the loss of 46 South Korean sailors.
She endorsed President Lee’s “right approach” in trying to avoiding “escalation and a broader conflict” while seeking international support to punish the North. “The key word” during the South Korean leaders’ meetings with Clinton was her strategy of “strategic patience,” said President Lee’s spokesman.
Those comments followed the South’s decision to cut off most trade with the North and the North responding by terminating all communications with the South and threatening to launch artillery shells across the border. nyt