As tensions increase as a result of the March 26 sinking of the South Korean warship Cheonan, presumably by a North Korean submarine, a White House press statement issued on May 24 said: “President Obama fully supports [South Korean] President Lee in his handling of the ROKS Cheonan incident and the objective investigation that followed.”
AP reported a North Korean statement on May 20 asserting that South Korea fabricated evidence implicating the North in a torpedo attack that sank the South’s ROKS Cheonan on March 26 in order to provoke the North. The statement said any attempt by South Korea to retaliate for the warship's sinking would be answered with "all-out war."
Reuters news reported on May 7 that Israel does not plan to review its nuclear policies, despite efforts by the United States and other world powers at the current UN conference of Parties to the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) to promote a Middle East free of nuclear arms.
Reuters cited an April 22 Yonhap News Agency report that the South Korean military believes a torpedo fired from a North Korean submarine sank its navy corvette, the ROKS Cheonan, on March 26. The findings were based on intelligence gathered jointly with the United States.
The Washington Post has reported that Afghan President Hamid Karzai has met with representatives of Hizb-i-Islami — a major Taliban-linked insurgent group — in a step toward national reconciliation, citing a presidential spokesman’s March 22 statement.
The quartet — a group comprised of the United States, Russia, the European Union, and the United Nations that focuses on Middle East peace — met in Moscow on March 19. At the meeting, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said that the proposals offered by the Israeli government to reduce diplomatic tensions with the United States were “useful and productive,” and that the Obama administration would continue talks with Israel in Jerusalem and Washington.
Major news sources reported on March 17 that five U.S. men who were arrested in Pakistan in December were charged this day with plotting terrorist attacks in Pakistan, charges that could lead to possible life sentences. The Los Angles Times reported that the men, ages 18 to 24, are U.S. citizens of Pakistani, African, and Egyptian descent who lived within blocks of each other in Alexandria, Virginia.
Citing a February 24 report from the the Nikkei Business Daily, AFP news reported that Japan has offered to enrich uranium for Iran to allow it to have access to nuclear power, while relieving international fears that the Islamic nation might be trying to build atomic weapons.
VOA News reported on February 2 that the Chinese government has expressed anger over a nearly $6.5 billion U.S. arms sale to Taiwan that was announced in Washington on January 29. The report cited Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Ma Zhaoxu, who warned that the sale will hurt Chinese-American relations andand could lead to what he described as "unwelcome consequences."
VOA News reported on January 29 that Secretary of State Hillary Clinton — who was in Paris meeting with senior French officials — said that China is under pressure to join in new sanctions against Iran over Tehran's refusal to reveal details of its nuclear-fuel enrichment program. Iran has consistently denied that it is developing nuclear weapons.