S. Korean President Park Geun-hye and U.S. President Barack Obama attend the joint news conference after their summit talks at Cheong Wa Dae, on Friday. (Yonhap)
President Barack Obama says it may be time to consider further sanctions against North Korea ``that have even more bite‘’ as the country is threatening its fourth nuclear test.
Addressing a joint news conference alongside South Korean President Park Geun-hye, Obama said threats by North Korea will get it ``nothing except further isolation‘’ from the global community. But Obama acknowledged there are limits to what impacts additional penalties can have on the country.
``North Korea already is the most isolated country in the world by far,‘’ Obama said. ``Its people suffer terribly because of the decisions its leaders have made. And we are not going to find a magic bullet that solves this problem overnight.‘’
Obama said the missile technology and nuclear weapons that North Korea is developing pose a direct threat to Korea and Japan, two very close U.S. allies in the region, but to the United States as well.
``We can‘t waver in our intention. We have to make sure that, in strong concert with our allies, that we are continuing to press North Korea to change its approach,’‘ Obama said, presenting a united front in the presence of Park.
The White House said it was keeping close tabs on activity at North Korea’s nuclear test site, where commercial satellite imagery this week showed increased activity. Park said the assessment of her government is that North Korea is ``fully ready now‘’ to conduct another nuclear test. ``This is a very tense situation,‘’ she said.
``President Obama‘s visit to South Korea sends a strong message to North Korea that its provocative acts cannot be tolerated,’‘ she said.
Obama also noted that his visit comes at a time of ``great sorrow’‘ for South Korea, which is mourning the loss of more than 300 people in a ferry that sank off the country’s southwestern coast. The vast majority of the victims were high school students.
``So many were young students with their entire lives ahead of them,‘’ Obama said, invoking his two daughters, both close in age to many of the ferry victims. ``I can only imagine what the parents are going through at this point, the incredible heartache.‘’
He said he was donating a magnolia tree from the White House lawn to the high school in honor of the lives lost and a symbol of friendship between the U.S. and South Korea. (AP-Yonhap)
Park, Obama vow to deter N.K. provocations
President Barack Obama on Friday offered South Korea heartfelt condolences for its "incredible loss" as the country struggles to come to terms with the sinking of a ferry packed with schoolchildren.
Obama offered any help America could give to the US ally as he met South Korean President Park Geun-Hye on the second leg of his Asian tour.
|President Obama inspects an honor guard at Cheong Wa Dae on Friday. (Yonhap)|
The two leaders bowed their heads in a moment of silence, and Obama handed Park the US flag which had flown over the White House on the day the ferry sank on April 16 as a gesture of respect from the American people.
"I'm very mindful that my visit comes at a time of mourning for the people of this nation," Obama said before talks with Park at the presidential Blue House.
"I know that President Park and the South Korean government are very focused in responding to the ferry," he said.
"For now, I just want to express, on the part of the American people, condolences for the incredible loss that has taken place," Obama said.
The confirmed death toll stood at 183 Friday, but 119 people remained unaccounted for. (AFP-Yonhap)
|President Obama and his aides give silent prayer for the victims of the sunken ferry before starting summit talks with South Korea at Cheong Wa Dae on Friday. (Yonhap)|