U.S. President Barack Obama has met with his South Korean counterpart Lee Myung-bak on the sidelines of the G20 economic summit in London. Concerns about a possible North Korean long-range missile launch dominated their talks.
Tensions have been rising due to North Korea's plans to launch a satellite into space. The United States, South Korea and Japan see the launch as a cover to test a long-range ballistic missile.
President Barack Obama did not refer to the launch directly as he sat down to meet South Korean President Lee Myung-bak. But he made clear it is very much on his mind.
"We are very interested in discussing the economic crisis, which is the topic of the G20 meeting," Mr. Obama said. "But obviously, we also have a great range of issues to discuss - on defense, on peace and stability in the Korean Peninsula."
Top White House officials, who spoke on the condition they would not be identified, stressed a launch would be a violation of an existing U.N. Security Council resolution, and would warrant a firm response through the United Nations.
They said President Obama assured President Lee the United States will consult closely with South Korea at the United Nations. One official said there was "a striking similarity of views" between the two men. He said President Obama made clear North Korea will not be able to drive a wedge between Washington and Seoul.
Earlier, President Obama discussed the North Korean situation with Chinese President Hu Jintao in London. Beijing has hosted talks on North Korea's nuclear ambitions, bringing together negotiators from six governments: North Korea, China, South Korea, Russia, Japan and, the United States.
In all, President Obama is meeting with five foreign leaders on the sidelines of the G20 summit, in addition to the meeting host, British Prime Minister Gordon Brown. On Wednesday, he consulted with President Hu and Russian President Dmitri Medvedev.
After the formal G20 sessions end, Mr. Obama will confer with Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and Saudi Arabia's King Abdullah.