US President Barack Obama has urged North Korea to engage with the international community over its nuclear programme or risk making the lives of its people even harsher.
“North Korea’s continued pursuit of nuclear weapons will only lead to more isolation and less security. But there is another path available to North Korea,” the US president told American troops in South Korea in a ceremony to commemorate the Korean war.
Speaking at a US base about 60 miles south of the demilitarised zone dividing North and South Korea, Obama said Pyongyang’s nuclear weapons programme, and the sinking of a South Korean naval, mark a “path of confrontation and provocation”.
“In the wake of this aggression, Pyongyang should not be mistaken: the United States will never waver in our commitment to the security of the Republic of Korea,” he said.
Tension on the peninsula has been high after Washington and Seoul blamed North Korea for the March sinking of a South Korean corvette, the Cheonan, which killed 46 sailors.
The US is one of five regional powers, along with Russia, China, Japan and South Korea, involved in stalled six-party talks on dismantling Pyongyang’s nuclear arms programme.
The president is likely to discuss North Korea during meetings today with the South Korean president, Lee Myung-bak, and Chinese president, Hu Jintao, alongside the G20 summit.