Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

Obama Warns N. Korea over Threats President Calls for Scrapping of Satellite Launch

Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

Obama Warns N. Korea over Threats President Calls for Scrapping of Satellite Launch

Article excerpt

PANMUNJOM, South Korea -- President Barack Obama on Sunday warned North Korea that its threats and provocations would only deepen its international isolation and jeopardize the resumption of U.S. food aid, and he called on the North to scrap its plans to launch a satellite next month.

Squinting through binoculars from an observation post at the demilitarized zone between North and South Korea, Mr. Obama got a firsthand look at North Korea, which had briefly tantalized the United States just weeks ago by raising the possibility of ending the standoff over its nuclear program with a new leader in place, only to resume its usual defiant stance with the recent satellite announcement.

"They need to understand that bad behavior will not be rewarded," Mr. Obama said, referring to the North Koreans at a news conference with South Korea's president, Lee Myung-bak, who is hosting a nuclear security summit meeting that will include Mr. Obama and 50 other world leaders.

Mr. Lee also demanded that North Korea "repeal" the decision to launch the satellite, which is to be mounted on a long-range missile. Both men said it would breach North Korea's obligations, since missile launchings are barred by U.N. sanctions.

Despite the international condemnation, North Korea appears determined to press ahead with the satellite launching next month. On Sunday, the South Korean military said North Korea had moved the main body of its Unha-3 rocket to the newly built launching station in Dongchang-ri, a village in northwestern North Korea.

South Korea Defense Ministry vice spokesman Yoon Won-shik said today that Seoul is considering measures to track and shoot down parts of the rocket if it violates South Korean territory.

Mr. Obama expressed frustration that China, as the main patron of the North Korean government, had not done more to curb the North's provocative behavior. He said he would raise the issue of China's influence in a meeting today with the Chinese president, Hu Jintao.

"In the same way that North Korea needs to do something new if it wants to do right by its people," Mr. Obama said, the Chinese must recognize that "the approach they've taken over the last several decades hasn't led to a fundamental shift in North Korea's behavior. …

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