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Obama: US to Accept Cheonan Probe Results

Posted May. 19, 2010 10:38,   


U.S. President Barack Obama told President Lee Myung-bak Tuesday that Washington will accept the results of Seoul’s probe into the sinking of the South Korean naval ship Cheonan.

"President Obama emphasized that the U.S. fully trusts and supports South Korea`s response and investigation by an international team," the South Korean presidential office of Cheong Wa Dae said.

The two leaders held a phone conversation for 25 minutes from 9 a.m. on the direction of the response to the sinking and the bilateral alliance. The presidential offices of both sides also released news releases to this effect soon after the talks.

Cheong Wa Dae said, “The leaders of (South) Korea and the U.S. agreed that North Korea must follow its international responsibility in compliance with U.N. Security Council resolution 1874, keeps its promise with the international community to dismantle its nuclear weapons program, and stop acts of aggression, and that the two allies agreed to step up collaborative efforts to this end.”

President Lee was quoted as saying in the phone conversation, “The probe is proceeding scientifically and objectively as planned,” explaining to Obama the progress of the investigation. “President Obama expressed his full trust in and support for the investigation by the international joint inspection team.”

President Lee also thanked Obama for extending unwavering support, including the deployment of U.S. experts for rescue and salvage operations. “The Cheonan incident served as an occasion for the Korean people to recognize the value of their bilateral alliance with the U.S.,” President Lee said.

Obama said he will send Secretary of State Hillary Clinton to Korea next week and hold close consultations with Seoul on how to cope with the situation.

The two countries will also hold a “2+2” meeting of foreign and defense ministers in Seoul July 22, as agreed at the Korea-U.S. summit in Seoul in November last year, to consolidate South Korea’s national security. Presidents Lee and Obama also agreed to hold bilateral talks on the sidelines of next month’s Group of 20 summit in Toronto.

The White House also said in its news release that both leaders emphasized the importance of unearthing the truth behind the Cheonan incident, adding Washington will respect whatever results the inspection finds.

The White House also said the two leaders pledged their best efforts to assure South Korea’s national security and the safety of the country’s military, territory and people. It added that President Obama reconfirmed his solid and unshakeable pledge to assure the defense and prosperity of the Republic of Korea, America’s close friend and ally.

yongari@donga.com yhchoi65@donga.com