North Korea's alleged sinking of a South Korean warship did not constitute an act of international terrorism and would not lead to placing Pyongyang back on the US list of state sponsors of terrorism, the US State Department said Monday, dpa reported.
The United States and South Korea among other countries blame North Korea for the March 26 sinking of the
Cheonan. An international inquiry determined the vessel was struck by a North Korean torpedo. Pyongyang had denied the attack and the matter has been brought to the UN Security Council.
The United States has yet to punish North Korea for what it sees as a "provocative" act that violated the armistice on the peninsula, but was not sufficient to move toward placing the Stalinist state back on the terrorism blacklist, State Department spokesman PJ Crowley said.
"In our view, it was provocative action, but one taken by the military of a state against the military of another state," Crowley said. "That, in our view, does not constitute an act of international terrorism."
Crowley, however, said the United States would continue to determine whether North Korea was involved in any terrorism that could be a legal justification to relisting it. North Korea was removed from the list in 2008 as part of the now-stalled nuclear disarmament talks.
"We will continue to watch North Korea very carefully and will not hesitate to take action if we think that there are actions that North Korea has taken which do, in fact, demonstrate a consistent support for international terrorism," Crowley said.