North Korea Preps For 4th Nuclear Test, But President Obama & South Korea Aren't Having Any Of It
President Obama had some tough words during his tour of Asia Friday, saying it may be time to consider more sanctions against North Korea. During a press conference with South Korean President Park Geun-hye, Obama gave a show of unity against news of North Korea's apparent upcoming nuclear test. Washington "stands shoulder to shoulder" with South Korea, Obama explained, and threats by North Korea will get it "nothing except further isolation."
The president's arrival in Seoul came with word that North Korea was taking the final steps needed for a fourth nuclear weapons test. In response, Obama warned of additional sanctions with "even more bite" to turn the heat on, though he also acknowledged a limit to the effect of imposing more penalties.
"We are not going to find a magic bullet that solves this problem overnight," Obama said. "We can't waver in our intention. We have to make sure that, in strong concert with our allies, that we are continuing to press North Korea to change its approach."
Park, in agreement with the president, said that a test would bring "fundamental change" to security in the region and set off a nuclear arms race, the Associated Press reports. Obama's visit to South Korea comes over a week after the tragic sinking of the Sewol ferry that killed more than 100 people. The president paid tribute to the victims of the April 16 disaster as the recovery effort for the missing continues.
Alongside the nation's leaders, Obama offered a moment of silence honoring those who lost their lives. He also gave Park an American flag, symbolic of U.S. sympathy for the loss of “so many young people, students who represented the vitality and the future of this nation.” The same flag flew over the White House the day the vessel sank.
After accepting the token, Park drew comparison to Americans' strength following 9/11 and said the Korean people would be able to "pull through this moment of crisis." Obama also donated a magnolia tree from the White House lawn to Danwon High School, whose students and teachers were among the victims.
Reports have been circulating in South Korean media that officials gave the wrong bodies to families following the search and recovery missions. Some of these mistakes were apparently caught after remains were taken to funeral homes. The government admitted to the claims, with an "action plan" released by the emergency task force acknowledging "there have been cases where the victims were wrongly transferred."