From NBC's Andrea Mitchell
Secretary of State Hillary Clinton in Beijing today spoke on camera about North Korea's torpedoing of a South Korean ship -- now that South Korea, the U.S. and the UN have in recent days declared they have forensic proof North Korea was behind the incident. She is in intensive talks, she said, with the Chinese on this -- and will be heading next to South Korea for further talks -- with the Chinese joining. The U.S. is also seeking action against North Korea at the Security Council.
Experts in and outside the administration think the North Korea action may have something to do with succession in North Korea -- but in fact they dont really know what is going on. But they think this has the potential to become a real crisis between North and South -- which would draw the U.S. in. It is a big setback for delicate talks to move toward diplomatic relations.
At Clinton's news conference she said:
"First, we endorse President Lee's call on North Korea to come forward with the facts regarding this act of aggression and, above all, stop its belligerence and threatening behavior.
"Second, our support for South Korea's defense is unequivocal, and President Obama has directed his military commanders to coordinate closely with their Korean counterparts to ensure readiness and to deter future aggression. As part of our ongoing dialogue, we will explore further enhancements to our joint posture on the Peninsula.
"Third, we support President Lee's call to bring this issue to the United Nations Security Council. I will be working with Ambassador Rice and our Korean counterparts, as well as Japan, China, and other UN Security Council member states to reach agreement on a way forward in the Council.
"Fourth, President Obama has directed U.S. Government agencies to review their existing authorities and policies related to North Korea, to ensure that we have adequate measures in place, and to identify areas where adjustments would be appropriate."
She also said:
"We are working hard to avoid an escalation, belligerence and provocation. This is a highly precarious situation that the North Koreans have caused in the region and it is one that every country that neighbors or is in proximity to North Korea understands must be contained, so that is what we are working to achieve and at the same time to send a message to North Korea that we are not simply resuming business as usual, that we intend to work with the international community to create a climate in which both consequences are felt by North Korea and working to change their behavior going forward to avoid the kind of escalation that would be very regrettable."