Thailand - The United States and North Korea became entangled in a brief diplomatic imbroglio on Thursday when they found themselves competing for the same stage for a news conference.
The two countries, which do not have diplomatic ties and are mired in a long-standing row over Pyongyang's nuclear programs, booked back-to-back news conferences in the same room at the ASEAN Regional Forum security gathering on the Thai island of Phuket.
Pyongyang's delegates turned up on time only to find U.S. officials and journalists waiting for U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, who was running late.
According to the organizers, Clinton had booked the stage for 1 to 1:30 p.m. while the North Koreans had reserved it from 1:30 to 2 p.m.
U.S. State Department spokesman Ian Kelly said he asked how long the North Koreans needed the stage, and was told that it was for a few minutes. He then said for them to please go ahead. It was not clear whether he spoke directly to a North Korean official or whether he addressed one of the organizers.
The North Koreans retreated behind the stage for a brief huddle and a press stampede ensued as photographers and cameramen clambered toward the delegates, who ultimately walked off to hold their news conference next to a hotel concierge desk. Clinton's meetings ran so long that EU foreign policy chief Javier Solana had to cancel his news conference, EU officials said. She appeared for her news conference at 2:24 p.m. (Reporting by Jack Kim, Arshad Mohammed and Martin Petty; Editing by Jeremy Laurence)