Obama: 'North Korea has failed again'
UPDATED: Wednesday, May 8, 2013 - 9:11am
WASHINGTON (CNN) -- President Barack Obama and South Korean President Park Geun-hye said Tuesday nuclear aggression from North Korea has further isolated the region and vowed to use all means to deter further provocations.
"If Pyongyang thought its recent threats would drive a wedge between South Korea and the United States or somehow garner the North international respect, today is further evidence that North Korea has failed again," Obama said during a joint press conference with the two leaders. "The United States and the Republic of Korea are as united as ever ... North Korea is more isolated than ever."
Obama said North Korea's manufactured crises will no long elicit concessions and committed to protecting the United States and its allies.
"The United States is fully prepared and capable of defending ourselves and our allies with the full range of capabilities available, including the deterrence provided by our conventional and nuclear forces," Obama said. "The commitment of the United States to the security of the Republic of Korea will never waver."
President Park, South Korea's first female president, said she will "by no means tolerate North Korea's threats and provocations, which have recently been escalating further."
She took office in February, shortly before North Korea conducted its most recent nuclear test, and has since taken a tough stance over perceived aggression from the North.
In an interview with CBS Monday, Geun-hye said even a small attack would warrant a military response.
"Yes, we will make them pay," she told CBS News.
And at Tuesday's press conference she said "North Korea will not be able to survive if it only clings to developing its nuclear weapons at the expense of its people's happiness."
However, both presidents left the door open to a shift from North Korean leader Kim Jong Un. On Monday, North Korea withdrew two mobile ballistic missiles from a launch site in the eastern part of the country, according to a U.S. official, the latest hint of an easing in tensions on the Korean Peninsula.
"We remain open to the prospect of North Korea taking a peaceful path of denuclearization, abiding by international commitments, rejoining the international community," Obama said.
President Obama and President Park met in the Oval Office with Vice President Joe Biden earlier in the day and had lunch before the press conference.
During this week's trip, which coincides with the 60th anniversary of a defense treaty between the two countries, President Park visited Arlington cemetery, met with military veterans and is scheduled to address a joint session of Congress Wednesday.
-- CNN's Barbara Starr contributed to this report.
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