So where was President Obama last night, circa 3 a.m., when North Korea fired at least 200 rounds of artillery shells at South Korean island Yeonpyeong, provoking the biggest escalation in Korean hostilities since the 1953 armistice? Trying to get a few peaceful hours of shut-eye. "Obama was awoken from his sleep for an emergency briefing," White House spokesman Bill Burton said today. It's still unclear how the United States might respond, but Stephen Bosworth, the U.S. special envoy on North Korean denuclearization, has been gossiping about it: "The subject did, of course, come up in my meetings with the Chinese Ministry of Foreign Affairs," he said. "I think we both share the view that such conflict is very undesirable. I expressed to them the desire that restraint be exercised on all sides, and I think we agree on that."
Meanwhile, on ABC News today, Obama told Barbara Walters: "I'm going to be talking to the president of South Korea this evening and we'll be consulting closely with them in terms of the appropriate response. We've strongly condemned the attack ... China must make clear to North Korea that there are a set of international rules that they need to abide by."
South Korean president Lee Myung-bak, however, said "enormous retaliation" is needed to stop Pyongyang's incitement. "The provocation this time can be regarded as an invasion of South Korean territory," Myung-bak explained. Perhaps White House rep Bill Burton put it best, though: "North Korea has a pattern of doing things that are provocative," he said today. "This is a particularly outrageous act."
U.S. condemns N.Korean shelling, shows restraint [TPM]
After North Korean strike, South Korean leader threatens 'retaliation' [CNN]
President Obama Says North Korea Poses a 'Serious and Ongoing Threat' [ABC News]