On a trip to South Korea, President Obama visits the heavily-armed DMZ and warns the regime across the border not to test a long-range missile next month.
Seoul, South Korea
President Barack Obama today warned North Korea not to go through with its plan to test a long-range missile next month but was clearly uncertain about what to do about it. His frustration was evident in the vagueness of his threat to hold back on 240,000 tons of food aid promised in a deal reached by US and North Korean envoys on Feb. 29.
Obama did not say specifically that the US would refuse to provide the food. Rather, he hinted, it would be “difficult to move forward with that package if they showed themselves unable to meet commitments even a month later.”
The view that launching the rocket would be “a clear violation,” as Mr. Obama put it, of the deal in which North Korea declared a moratorium on long-range missile and nuclear tests dominated his meeting with South Korea’s President Lee Myong-bak on the eve of a two-day nuclear security summit of leaders of more than 50 countries.
The summit is about nuclear terrorism and accidents, not the nuclear programs of either North Korea or Iran, which have cooperated with one another in exchanging components and technology. Nonetheless, worries about North Korea were sure to take up most of the time of the leaders outside the formal conference.