News

Obama Calls for North Korea to Have Courage to Pursue Peace

South Korea's President Lee Myung-bak (L) poses with U.S. President Barack Obama as he arrives for a working dinner at the Nuclear Security Summit at the Convention and Exhibition Center in Seoul, March 26, 2012.
South Korea's President Lee Myung-bak (L) poses with U.S. President Barack Obama as he arrives for a working dinner at the Nuclear Security Summit at the Convention and Exhibition Center in Seoul, March 26, 2012.

U.S. President Barack Obama's discussions Monday with the leaders of Russia and China appear to have yielded no breakthroughs regarding concerns about North Korea and Iran. The meetings came hours after the president delivered a speech in the South Korean capital calling on the North Koreans to "have the courage to pursue peace" and "take irreversible steps" to meet their international obligations.

Nuclear tensions with North Korea and Iran were the focus for Obama and many of the other leaders now in Seoul for the Nuclear Security Summit.

Chinese President Hu Jintao met Monday with both South Korean President Lee Myung-bak and, then, President Obama to discuss an upcoming North Korean missile launch.

Deputy national security adviser Ben Rhodes says the Chinese leader told Obama Beijing is taking the planned launch seriously and expressing its concerns to Pyongyang. But that may not be enough to satisfy Washington, with Rhodes acknowledging the Chinese need to look at going beyond the “types of messages and warnings” they have been giving the North Koreans.

At the Hankuk University of Foreign Studies, the president said he wanted to directly convey to the leaders in Pyongyang, less than 200 kilometers away, the United States has no hostile intent - but that they should know further provocations will have consequences.

"Your provocations and pursuit of nuclear weapons have not achieved the security you seek, they have undermined it. Instead of the dignity you desire, you are more isolated. Instead of earning the respect of the world, you have been met with strong sanctions," said Obama.

The United States and South Korea are warning the North it faces more sanctions if it goes ahead next month with what Pyongyang terms a "space launch."

Many members of the international community say that would violate existing sanctions forbidding North Korea from utilizing ballistic missile technology.

South Korean army Colonel Yoon Won-shik says the military here will take action if the multi-stage missile veers over this country's territory.

Yoon, a defense ministry spokesman, says the military will attempt to shoot down any parts of the missile that veer from the planned trajectory and crosses South Korea.

In Tokyo, Japanese Defense Minister Naoki Tanaka says not only will PAC-3 surface-to-air missiles be deployed in the Ryukyu islands for next month's North Korean launch, they will also be placed adjacent to the defense ministry headquarters in central Tokyo.

The Japanese defense minister says, to eliminate public anxiety, he will soon give orders to the Self Defense Forces and will make a decision on issuing a command to intercept and destroy the missile if it passes over Japan.

Obama's meetings Monday with the Chinese and Russian leaders also addressed suspicions about the true intent of Iran's nuclear program.

The White House says the U.S. and Russian presidents agreed there is still a window of opportunity to pursue a diplomatic solution. Mr. Obama, in his speech, earlier in the day, warned Tehran that time for diplomacy was running out.


Steve Herman

A veteran journalist, Steve Herman is VOA's Southeast Asia Bureau Chief and Correspondent, based in Bangkok.

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Colombians Flee Venezuela as Border Crisis Escalatesi
X
August 27, 2015 2:08 AM
Hundreds of Colombians have fled Venezuela since last week, amid an escalating border crisis between the two countries. Last week, Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro ordered the closure of a key border crossing after smugglers injured three Venezuelan soldiers and a civilian. The president also ordered the deportation of Colombians who are in Venezuela illegally. Zlatica Hoke reports.
Video

Video Colombians Flee Venezuela as Border Crisis Escalates

Hundreds of Colombians have fled Venezuela since last week, amid an escalating border crisis between the two countries. Last week, Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro ordered the closure of a key border crossing after smugglers injured three Venezuelan soldiers and a civilian. The president also ordered the deportation of Colombians who are in Venezuela illegally. Zlatica Hoke reports.
Video

Video Is China's Economic Data Accurate?

Some investors say China's wild stock market gyrations have been made worse by worries about the reliability of that nation's economic data. And some critics say the reports can mislead investors by painting an unrealistically-strong picture of the economy. A key China scholar says Beijing is not fudging ((manipulating)) the numbers, but that the economy is evolving quickly from smoke-stack industries to services, and the ways of tracking new economic activity are falling behind the change. V
Video

Video Next to Iran, Climate at Forefront of Obama Agenda

President Barack Obama this week announced new initiatives aimed at making it easier for Americans to access renewable energy sources such as solar and wind. Obama is not slowing down when it comes to pushing through climate change measures, an issue he says is the greatest threat to the country’s national security. VOA correspondent Aru Pande has more from the White House.
Video

Video Shipping Containers Provide Experimental Housing

Housing prices around the San Francisco Bay area are out of reach for many people, so some young entrepreneurs, artists and tech industry workers are creating their own houses using converted shipping containers. But as VOA's Mike O’Sullivan reports from Oakland, the effort requires ingenuity and dealing with restrictive local laws.
Video

Video Arctic Draws International Competition for Oil

A new geopolitical “Great Game” is underway in earth’s northernmost region, the Arctic, where Russia has claimed a large area for resource development and President Barack Obama recently approved Shell Oil Company’s test-drilling project in an area under U.S. control. Greg Flakus reports.
Video

Video Philippine Maritime Police: Chinese Fishermen a Threat to Country’s Security

China and the Philippines both claim maritime rights in the South China Sea.  That includes the right to fish in those waters. Jason Strother reports on how the Philippines is catching Chinese nationals it says are illegal poachers. He has the story from Palawan province.
Video

Video Technique May Eliminate Drill-and-Fill Dental Care

Many people dread visiting dentists because they're afraid of drills. Now, however, a technology developed by a British firm promises to eliminate the need for mechanical cleaning of dental cavities by speeding a natural process of tooth repair. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video China's Spratly Island Building Said to Light Up the Night 'Like A City'

Southeast Asian countries claim China has illegally seized territory in the Spratly islands. It is especially a concern for a Philippine mayor who says Beijing is occupying parts of his municipality. Jason Strother reports from the capital of Palawan province, Puerto Princesa.
Video

Video Ages-old Ice Reveals Secrets of Climate Change

Ice caps don't just exist at the world's poles. There are also tropical ice caps, and the largest sits atop the Peruvian Andes - but it is melting, quickly, and may be gone within the next 20 years. George Putic reports scientists are now rushing to take samples to get at the valuable information about climate change locked in the ice.
Video

Video French Experiment in Integrating Roma Under Threat

Plans to destroy France’s oldest slum have sparked an outcry on the part of its Roma residents. As Lisa Bryant reports from the Paris suburb of La Courneuve, rights groups argue the community is a fledgling experiment on integrating Roma who are often outcasts in many parts of Europe.
Video

Video Kenyans Turn to Agriculture for Business

Each year Kenyan universities continue to churn out graduates for the job market despite the already existing high rate of unemployment among youth in the country. Some of these young men and women have realized that agriculture can be as rewarding as any other business or job, and they are resorting to agribusiness in large numbers as a way of tackling unemployment. Rael Ombuor reports for VOA.
Video

Video First Women Graduate Elite Army Ranger School

Two women are making history for the U.S. Army by proving they are among the toughest of the tough. VOA's Carla Babb reports from Fort Benning, Georgia as 94 men and those two women rise as graduates of the difficult Ranger school.

VOA Blogs