Obama supports S. Korean president

Lee demands N. Korea apologize for sinking ship, stop belligerence.

Obama cool angle 248.88 (photo credit: AP)
Obama cool angle 248.88
(photo credit: AP)
WASHINGTON — The White House said Monday that US President Barack Obama "fully supports" the South Korean president and his response to the torpedo attack by North Korea that killed 46 South Korean sailors.
The administration said it endorsed President Lee Myung-bak's demand that "North Korea immediately apologize and punish those responsible for the attack, and, most importantly, stop its belligerent and threatening behavior."
"US support for South Korea's defense is unequivocal, and the president has directed his military commanders to coordinate closely with their Republic of Korea counterparts to ensure readiness and to deter future aggression," the White House said.
The South Korean president said Monday that his nation would no longer tolerate the North's "brutality" and said the repressive communist regime would pay for the surprise March 26 torpedo attack.
He also vowed to cut off all trade with the North and to take Pyongyang to the UN Security Council for punishment over the sinking of the warship Cheonan.
Speaking earlier in Beijing, US Secretary of State Hillary RodhamClinton said the North must be held accountable and she is pushing toget the support of China, North Korea's top ally, for diplomatic action.
A team of international investigators concluded last week that a NorthKorean submarine launched the torpedo that split the Cheonan in two.
Obama, in response to North Korea's pattern of "provocation anddefiance of international law," has ordered US government agencies toreview theirpolicies toward Pyongyang.