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Obama warns N Korea ahead of launch

US President Barack Obama has warned North Korea it risks deepening its isolation in the international community if it proceeds with a planned long-range rocket launch.

"North Korea will achieve nothing by threats or provocations," Mr Obama said during a news conference in Seoul, South Korea, where he was to attend a nuclear security summit.

Mr Obama spoke following a private meeting with South Korean President Lee Myung-bak.

Both leaders warned there would be consequences if North Korea proceeds with next month's launch, with Mr Obama saying the move would jeopardise a deal for the US to resume stalled food at to the North.

"Bad behaviour will not be rewarded," Mr Obama said.

North Korea plans to launch a satellite using a long-range rocket next month, which the US and other powers say would violate a UN ban on nuclear and missile activity because the same technology could be used for long-range missiles.

The US considers the rocket launch practice for a ballistic missile test and a violation of North Korea's international responsibilities.

The planned launch is yet another setback for the US in years of attempts to launch real negotiations. The announcement also played into Republican criticism that Mr Obama had been too quick to jump at a new chance for talks with the North Koreans.

Earlier, Mr Obama paid his first visit to the tense Demilitarised Zone separating North and South Korea, speaking briefly at the US military camp located just outside the 2.5-mile-wide zone.

What he saw from the border, Mr Obama said, underscored the degree to which the North has suffered under a battery of sanctions aimed at punishing Pyongyang for its continued provocations.


From Belfast Telegraph