Washington: The US today said that the
sinking of the South Korean Naval vessel `Cheonan` by North
Korea was a provocative action but refused to term it as an
act of terrorism.
"It is our judgment that the sinking of the Cheonan is
not an act of international terrorism and by itself would not
trigger placing North Korea on the state sponsor of terrorism
list," State Department spokesman P J Crowley told reporters,
at his daily news conference.
"We continue to evaluate information that is
consistently coming into us regarding North Korean activities,
and we will not hesitate to take action if we have information
that North Korea has repeatedly provided support for acts of
terrorism," he said.
Observing that the Cheonan incident certainly is a
violation of the existing armistice between North and South,
he said the US and its coalition partners are seeking a
meeting with North Korean officials to discuss that.
"We believe that the Cheonan was, in fact, a violation
of the armistice. We`ve sought meetings at various levels and
thus far they have not been set up," he said.
"I think there`s been some reporting that North Korea
has, at least for the moment, declined to participate in that
meeting. But it was a state-on-state action and by itself does
not constitute an act of international terrorism," he said.
"That said, we obviously have plenty of concerns about
activity of North Korea in terms of its well-established
export of weapons and dangerous technology and know-how and we
will continue to watch North Korea very carefully and will not
hesitate to take action if we think that there are actions
that North Korea has taken which do, in fact, demonstrate a
consistent support for international terrorism," Crowley said.
Meanwhile, Ambassador Wi Sung-lac, Special
Representative for Korean Peninsula Peace and Security
Affairs, will be visiting Washington today for consultations
with the US on North Korea.
"These meetings are part of our ongoing regular
consultations with officials from the Republic of Korea. These
consultations reflect the close cooperation between ourselves
and the republic. Ambassador Wi is scheduled to meet Special
Representative Steve Bosworth and Special Envoy Sung Kim,"
In the light of the North Korean provocations, the
State Department spokesman said the US is continuing to work
with South Korea to strengthen their defense cooperation.
"You heard over the weekend decisions made by the
Presidents of the US and South Korea regarding operational
control of forces on the peninsula. We obviously would like to
see North Korea cease its provocative action and construct
better relations with its neighbors, take affirmative steps
towards denuclearization of the peninsula," he said.
"Those would be the kinds of things that we think
would create the proper environment to resolve the armistice
and establish peace and stability on the peninsula. But that
is, at this point, up to North Korea," Crowley said.