“Such unacceptable behavior only deepens North Korea’s isolation,” the White House said in a statement. “It reinforces the resolve of its neighbors to intensify their cooperation to safeguard peace and stability in the region against all provocations.”
The U.S. government echoed Seoul’s assertion that an international investigation had yielded proof that a North Korean submarine fired the torpedo that hit the South Korean ship in March, killing 46 sailors.
“It points overwhelmingly to the conclusion that North Korea was responsible for this attack,” the White House said.
“This act of aggression is one more instance of North Korea’s unacceptable behavior and defiance of international law,” it said. “This attack constitutes a challenge to international peace and security and is a violation of the Armistice Agreement.”
Obama spoke by phone to South Korean President Lee Myung-bak two days ago, the statement said, and “made clear that the United States fully supports the Republic of Korea, both in the effort to secure justice for the 46 service members killed in this attack and in its defense against further acts of aggression.”
Obama’s efforts to engage diplomatically with nuclear-armed North Korea in the early days of his administration last year were met with defiance, and the U.S. leader has since toughened his rhetoric against Pyongyang over its nuclear program.
Lee pledged a firm response against North Korea.