U.S. Condemns “Outrageous” North Korean Attack
Washington — North Korea’s artillery attack on a South Korean island is an outrageous act, and the United States is working with other countries in the region to develop a “measured and unified response,” U.S. officials said.
Speaking to reporters en route to Kokomo, Indiana, where President Obama made remarks on the U.S. economy, deputy White House press secretary Bill Burton said Obama “is outraged by these actions.”
The United States stands “shoulder to shoulder with our ally in South Korea” and is “fully committed to their defense,” Burton said November 23.
The White House also issued a statement November 23 that called on North Korea to “halt its belligerent action and to fully abide by the terms of the  Armistice Agreement.”
Burton offered condolences to the South Korean victims. According to press reports, two South Korean marines were killed and 16 marines and three civilians were injured in the attack on Yeonpyeong Island in the Yellow Sea.
“We’ll be working with South Korea and the international community in coming days on the best way forward in securing peace and stability in the region,” Burton said.
President Obama believes that North Korea needs to live up to its obligations under the armistice that halted the Korean War, as well as its obligations under international law, he said.
“North Korea has a pattern of doing things that are provocative,” Burton said. “This is a particularly outrageous act, and we’re going to be doing everything that we need to do in order to make sure that we’re defending our ally in South Korea and that there’s security and stability in the region.”
State Department spokesman Mark Toner said North Korea had made “an unprovoked military attack” on South Korean military personnel and civilians.
“I can’t say from this spot that it was an act of war, but [it was] clearly an act of belligerence,” he told reporters November 23. The United States plans to work with its partners in the six-party process — South Korea, China, Japan and Russia — to take “a measured and unified response.”
The attack comes after many recent North Korean provocations through its nuclear and ballistic missile testing, the March attack on the South Korean ship Cheonan, and recent claims to have centrifuges capable of producing enriched uranium that could be used in nuclear weapons.
“We’re not going to buy into this reaction or word cycle that North Korea seeks to perpetuate,” Toner said. “We’re going to be deliberate about our approach to this, and it’s going to be a consultative process.”
A unified approach is “frankly the best way” to make North Korea’s leadership “aware of their isolation,” Toner said.
(This is a product of the Bureau of International Information Programs, U.S. Department of State. Web site: http://www.america.gov)