Published : 2013-02-13 20:53
Updated : 2013-02-13 20:53
U.S. President Barack Obama said Tuesday North Korea would only achieve the security and prosperity it seeks by meeting its international obligations, not by conducting nuclear tests.
Obama called its nuclear test a “provocation” and said it would only serve to further isolate North Korea from the rest of the world.
Addressing the issue in his State of the Union speech, Obama said the U.S. would stand by its allies in the region, strengthen its own missile defenses and lead the world in taking “firm action” in response to such threats.
North Korea’s official news agency said the test was carried out to counter what it called “ferocious” U.S. hostility that undermines its peaceful, sovereign right to launch satellites.
“America will continue to lead the effort to prevent the spread of the world’s most dangerous weapons,” he said in an one-hour speech at Capitol Hill. “The regime in North Korea must know that they will only achieve security and prosperity by meeting their international obligations.”
He also made clear an intent to accelerate his push for a nuclear-free world, offering an apparent olive branch.
“The leaders of Iran must recognize that now is the time for a diplomatic solution, because a coalition stands united in demanding that they meet their obligations, and we will do what is necessary to prevent them from getting a nuclear weapon,” he said.
Obama also said his government would engage Russia to pursue further cuts in nuclear arsenals.
The U.S. would “continue leading the global effort to secure nuclear materials that could fall into the wrong hands ― because our ability to influence others depends on our willingness to lead,” Obama said.
He added the U.S. will remain the “anchor of strong alliances” from Asia to Europe and Africa.