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Obama looking through binoculars to see North Korea from the demilitarised zone today. Ap Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais
tensions

Obama warns North Korea against conducting rocket test

The US president said there will be consequences if North Korea goes ahead with its plans to test a long-range rocket next month.

US PRESIDENT BARACK Obama has warned North Korea that it risks deepening its isolation in the international community if it proceeds with a planned long-range rocket launch.

“North Korea will achieve nothing by threats or provocations,” Obama said during a news conference today in Seoul, South Korea, where he was to attend a nuclear security summit.

Obama spoke fresh off his first visit to the tense demilitarised zone, the heavily patrolled no-man’s land between North and South Korea, saying:

It’s like you’re in a time warp. It’s like you’re looking across 50 years into a country that has missed 40 years or 50 years of progress.

Obama looked noticeably fatigued after essentially one long day that involved a 17-hour flight from Washington, a helicopter ride to the border zone, two sets of diplomatic talks, the news conference and an official dinner.

From the DMZ, Obama returned to Seoul for a private meeting with South Korean President Lee Myung-bak and a joint news conference.

Both leaders warned there would be consequences if North Korea proceeds with its plans to launch a satellite using a long-range rocket next month, a move the US and other powers say would violate a UN ban on nuclear and missile activity because the same technology could be used for long-range missiles.

Obama said the launch would jeopardise a deal for the US to resume stalled food aid to North Korea and may result in the tightening of harsh economic sanctions on the already-impoverished nation.

“Bad behavior will not be rewarded,” Obama said.

There had been a pattern, I think, for decades in which North Korea thought if they had acted provocatively, then somehow they would be bribed into ceasing and desisting acting provocatively.

The planned launch is yet another setback for the US in years of on-again, off-again attempts to launch real negotiations.

In pictures: North Korea’s military parade in honour of Kim Jong Il >

South Korea carries out military drill as North threatens ‘merciless’ attack >

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Author
Associated Foreign Press
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