News Column

Obama and Park to Show United Front on North Korea

May 7, 2013

U.S. President Barack Obama and South Korean President Park Geun Hye were in talks at the White House Tuesday that were intended as a show of US solidarity with its ally against threats from North Korea.

The meeting marks 60 years since the Washington and Seoul signed a defence treaty. Park was welcomed by a military honour guard lining the drive to the West Wing.

She and Obama were scheduled for a working lunch after talks in the Oval Office.

"Solidarity on North Korea is going to be the hallmark of this meeting," said Daniel Russel, a White House advisor on Asian affairs.

The visit comes amid reports that North Korea had removed two mid-range missiles from their launch positions, after several weeks of escalating tension and bellicose rhetoric from Pyongyang.

The two mid-range Musudan missiles, deployed to North Korea's east coast in early April, had been returned to storage, CNN and CBS News reported, citing unnamed US officials.

Russel declined to comment on the intelligence late Monday and said it was "too soon to celebrate (the reports) as good news."

Park told CBS News in her first US television interview since taking office in February that North Korea would face consequences for even small-scale attacks on the South.

"Yes, we will make them pay," she said through a translator when asked about the possibility.

The talks between the leaders will also focus on economic ties, including a year-old free-trade agreement, as well as cooperation in Afghanistan, on Syria, climate change, energy and other issues.

Source: Copyright 2013 dpa Deutsche Presse-Agentur GmbH

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