US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said today that it was in the interests of the international community, including China, to persuade North Korea to change its ways.
She told reporters during a brief visit in the South Korean capital that the crisis brought on by the North's sinking of a South Korean warship required a strong but measured response and said Washington was considering additional options to hold Pyongyang accountable. "There is the immediate crisis caused by the sinking of the naval vessel which requires a strong but measured response, but there is a longer-term challenge of changing the direction of North Korea."
North Korea warned it would close the last road link across the increasing tense peninsula if the South goes ahead with a threat to broadcast anti-Pyongyang propaganda into its hermit neighbour. Tensions are mounting after the South blamed the North for torpedoing one of its warships, killing 46 sailors. But after a sharp drop in shares and the local currency yesterday, Seoul's financial markets looked stable and the government said it was ready to step in if things looked to be getting out of control.
"The South Korean puppet war-like forces would be well advised to act with discretion, bearing deep in mind that such measures of the KPA (army) will not end in an empty talk," North Korea's KCNA news agency quoted a top official as saying. Washington is looking for ways to avoid the issue collapsing into conflict and Clinton called on Beijing to help to coax the North into changing course.
China, which almost single-handedly props up the North Korean government and its destitute economy, again called for calm and dialogue. Beijing has refused to give its backing to an international investigation that last week concluded North Korea in March sank the South Korean Cheonan corvette, killing 46 sailors. China is certain to block attempts to impose new sanctions on its ally which means the United States may have to accept no more than a carefully worded rap over the knuckles for Pyongyang. - Reuters
Find your news in a flash at www.sabcnews.mobi