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May 08, 2013 at 11:50am IST

North Korea has to pay a price for its provocative behaviour: Obama

Washington: Emphasising that North Korea has to pay for its recent provocative behaviour, US President Barack Obama and his South Korean counterpart Park Geun-Hye have said that engagement process would be initiated if Pyongyang gives up its nuclear ambitions.

"The key is that we will be prepared for a deterrence; that we will respond to aggression; that we will not reward provocative actions; but that we will maintain an openness to an engagement process when we see North Korea taking steps that would indicate that it is following a different path. That's exactly the right approach," Obama told reporters during a joint White House news conference.

"All of us would benefit from a North Korea that transformed itself. Certainly, the people of North Korea would benefit. South Korea would be even stronger in a less tense environment on the peninsula. All the surrounding neighbours would welcome such a transition, such a transformation," Obama said.

North Korea has to pay a price for provocations: Obama

Obama said the actions being taken by the North Korean leader Kim Jong-Un has been provocative.

"Regarding North Korea's provocations and bad behaviour, we will make them pay what I meant was that if they engage in military provocations and harm the lives of our people and the safety of our people, then naturally, as a President who gives the top priority to ensuring the safety of our people, it is something that we can't just pass over, Park said.

Obama said the actions being taken by the North Korean leader has been provocative. "Obviously, I don t know Kim Jong-Un personally. I haven't had a conversation with him, can't really give you an opinion about his personal characteristics. What we do know is the actions that he's taken have been provocative and seem to pursue a dead end," he said.

"I want to emphasise, President Park and myself very much share the view that we are going to maintain a strong deterrent capability; that we're not going to reward provocative behaviour. But we remain open to the prospect of North Korea taking a peaceful path of denuclearisation, abiding by international commitments, rejoining the international community, and seeing a gradual progression in which both security and prosperity for the people of North Korea can be achieved," he said.

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