Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Obama, Lee say North Korea brinkmanship won't work

Obama, Lee say North Korea brinkmanship won't work
N. Korea's anti-sanctions rally
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By Doug Palmer and Matt Spetalnick
WASHINGTON (Reuters) - U.S. President Barack Obama and South Korean President Lee Myung-bak presented a united front to North Korea on Tuesday, saying Pyongyang must abandon its nuclear weapons program and will not be rewarded for provoking a crisis.
With Lee at his side in the White House Rose Garden, Obama said a nuclear-armed North Korea would pose a "grave threat" to the world and vowed that new U.N. sanctions against the reclusive communist-ruled nation would be strictly enforced.
"Given the belligerent manner in which they are constantly threatening their neighbors, I don't think there's any question that that would be a destabilizing situation that would be a profound threat to not only the United States' security, but to world security," Obama said.
He promised to end a cycle of allowing impoverished North Korea to create a crisis, then be granted concessions in the form of food, fuel and other incentives to back down, only to renege on its promises.
"This is a pattern they've come to expect," Obama said. "We are going to break that pattern."
While talking tough, Obama -- who took office in January pledging a new approach of talking to America's enemies -- also extended an olive branch.
"I want to be clear that there is another path available to North Korea ... including full integration into the community of nations," Obama said. "That destination can only be reached through peaceful negotiations that achieve the full and verifiable denuclearization of the Korean peninsula."
North Korea, which last month conducted a nuclear explosion and missile tests in defiance of international pressure, said at the weekend it would start a uranium enrichment program and weaponize all its uranium in response to new U.N. sanctions.
Lee said the UN Security Council's vote last week to expand sanctions on North Korea showed the global community's firm resolve.
"The North Koreans will come to understand that this is different, that they will not be able to repeat the past or their past tactics and strategies," Lee said.
The South Korean leader has followed a tough line on North Korea, even before Pyongyang raised tensions in recent weeks by test-firing missiles, restarting a plant to produce arms-grade plutonium and holding a nuclear test on May 25.
Japan's Asahi newspaper reported on Tuesday that the youngest son of North Korean leader Kim Jong-il secretly visited China last week and his hosts were told he had been appointed heir to the ruling family dynasty,
The report, citing unidentified informed sources, said Kim Jong-un met Chinese President Hu Jintao and other leaders of the ruling Communist Party when he flew to Beijing around June 10.
Analysts have said North Korea's recent nuclear test and other belligerent acts may be aimed at a domestic audience, with the elder Kim trying to bolster his position at home to secure the succession of his youngest son. The 67-year-old leader is believed to have suffered a stroke last year. Continued...
Source: Reuters

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