The Associated Press is reporting that President Barack Obama has pledged that the United States would defend South Korea after what the White House branded a "provocative, outrageous attack by North Korea" on its neighbor. Its options limited, the U.S. sought a diplomatic rather than a military response to one of the most ominous clashes between the Koreas in decades. "South Korea is our ally. It has been since the Korean War," Obama said in his first comments about the North Korean shelling of a South Korean island. "And we strongly affirm our commitment to defend South Korea as part of that alliance." North Korea has officially started something.

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