May 19, 2010 08:41
President Lee Myung-bak and his U.S. counterpart Barack Obama agreed to put diplomatic and military pressure on North Korea in the belief that the North was behind the sinking of the Navy corvette Cheonan in the West Sea on March 26.
In a telephone conversation with Obama on Tuesday morning, Lee said the findings of an international investigation team "clearly point to North Korean involvement," a Cheong Wa dae official said.
The two leaders did not discuss what they will do, but officials from both countries have already had in-depth discussions about the options.
The two countries are mulling joint military maneuvers, especially anti-submarine exercises off the west coast, a government official said. They are also discussing seeking further UN Security Council sanctions against the North; blocking passage of North Korean merchant ships through the Jeju Strait; resuming psychological warfare along the military demarcation line; and suspending all inter-Korean business except for the joint Korean Kaesong Industrial Complex.
Lee is expected to deliver a nationwide address early next week following the announcement of the findings on Thursday.
Obama was quoted as saying the U.S. trusts and supports South Korea's response and investigation by an international team. He also pledged to send Secretary of State Hillary Clinton to Seoul around May 25 for detailed talks about what responses to take.
A "two plus two" meeting of foreign and defense ministers is scheduled in Seoul on July 22. The two leaders also agreed to meet on the sidelines of the upcoming G20 meeting in Canada in June.
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