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U.S.: Ship sinking provocative but not terrorism

By the CNN Wire Staff
North Korea denies any responsibility in the sinking of the Cheonan. The South Korean ship's salvaged bow is pictured in April.
North Korea denies any responsibility in the sinking of the Cheonan. The South Korean ship's salvaged bow is pictured in April.
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • North Korea won't make terror list for alleged sinking of South Korean naval ship
  • South Korean nuclear envoy to be in Washington Tuesday
  • G8 leaders expressed concerns over North Korea's nuclear ambitions

Washington (CNN) -- The United States will not return North Korea to its list of state sponsors of terrorism despite its alleged role in the sinking of a South Korea naval ship in contested waters off the peninsula's coast.

"In our view, it was a provocative action but one taken by the military or the state against the military of another state," U.S. Assistant Secretary of State Philip Crowley said Monday in his explanation of why the sinking didn't constitute an act of international terrorism.

When asked if the sinking was an "act of war," Crowley called it a "violation of the existing armistice between North and South," adding the United States continuously evaluates information that may affect the status of nations on the terror list.

Crowley's remarks came ahead of Tuesday's scheduled meetings between Wi Sung-lac, South Korea's representative to six-party nuclear talks with North Korea, and State Department officials.

Video: Koreas make ship-sinking case to U.N.
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North Korea last year cut off the talks involving the United States, China, South Korea, Japan and Russia over international criticism of its nuclear and missile tests.

Why are the two Koreas so hostile?

North Korea has vehemently denied charges it fired a torpedo that sank the navy ship Cheonan and has accused the United States of "persistently antagonizing" it.

In a final statement issued Saturday, Group of Eight leaders condemned North Korea's government for its alleged role in the March 26 sinking of the Cheonan, which killed 46 sailors, and expressed grave concerns over its nuclear ambitions. The G8 nations include United States, Canada, France, Germany, Britain, Italy, Japan and Russia.

Two weeks ago, U.N. Security Council President Claude Heller said the U.N. body was "gravely concerned" about tensions between the Koreas after the ship sinking.

Friday marked the 60th anniversary of the start of the Korean War, which ended in 1953 with an armistice but no peace treaty.