WASHINGTON — President Barack Obama and South Korean President Park Geun Hye presented a united front in their warning to North Korea on Tuesday, saying they would not bend to confrontational behavior and welcomed international pressure on the North's young leader.
The United States and South Korea "very much share the view that we are going to maintain a strong deterrent capability," Obama said standing beside the new South Korean leader at a news conference. "But we remain open to the prospect of North Korea taking a peaceful path of denuclearization, abiding by international commitments, rejoining the international community."
The North Korean security threat was at the top of the agenda for Park's first trip to the White House since her election, a visit that comes amid heightened tension with North Korea. Park took office in February just two weeks after the North conducted its most recent nuclear test.
Park repeated her warning that North Korea would "pay" for any military provocation that jeopardizes the safety of South Koreans. But the South Korea leader also had encouraging words for China and Russia, which appear to be using their influence to urge North Korea's 30-year-old leader, Kim Jong Un, to back off the threats of additional nuclear tests and attacks on the United States and South Korea.
"Such constructive efforts on the part of China and Russia are vital to sending a unified message to North Korea that their nuclear weapons will not stand and encouraging and urging North Korea to make the right decision," Park said.