27 Nov, 2010, 11.04PM IST,IANS
State Department spokesman P J Crowley announced the phone call on Twitter, days after North Korea launched an artillery assault on the South Korean island of Yeonpyeong. The attack left four people dead, including two South Korean soldiers.
The US, South Korea and other countries have condemned North Korea’s artillery assault as provocative and destabilizing. US President Barack Obama has condemned the attack as an “outrage” and telephoned President Lee Myung Bak to affirm US commitment to South Korea’s security.
China has been reluctant to back tough policies and has so far not condemned North Korea for Tuesday’s hostilities, instead urging restraint on both sides. But as North Korea’s closest friend, the US has regularly sought Beijing’s support to pressure Pyongyang.
Crowley said earlier this week that China has a role to play in pressuring Pyongyang.
“Its not that China can dictate a particular action to North Korea, but it is that China, together with the United States and other countries, has to send a clear, direct, unified message that it is North Korea that has to change,” Crowley said.
The US has about 28,000 soldiers stationed in South Korea, a presence that has remained since 1953, when an armistice ended Korean War hostilities.