VIENTIANE, Laos, Sept. 6 (UPI) — U.S. President Barack Obama condemned North Korea provocations after a bilateral meeting with South Korea’s Park Geun-hye and defended a joint decision to deploy a U.S. missile defense system on the Korean peninsula.
On Tuesday, Obama warned of more penalties for Pyongyang if the country continued to pursue weapons tests.
“North Korea needs to know that provocations will only invite more pressure and further deepen its isolation,” the president said in Vientiane, the capital of Laos.
But the door to talks remains open, he said.
Park said Pyongyang’s “continued missile launches are fundamentally threatening the security of both the Korean peninsula and Northeast Asia” and a “strong deterrence posture” is needed that includes the “deployment of the THAAD system.”
Obama also stated THAAD is a “purely defensive system to deter and defend against North Korean threats.”
The July decision to deploy THAAD continues to be met with opposition from China, because of the THAAD radar’s monitoring capabilities.
The United States has previously dismissed those concerns.
Both leaders agreed the sanctions against North Korea must be fully implemented in order to hold Pyongyang “accountable,” but on Tuesday a North Korea propaganda outlet claimed the sanctions are abetting military development.
“Our republic has reduced its dependence on foreign imports in order to realize the nationalization of the business sector, which has been taking place more vigorously,” the statement from Maeari read, adding the “hostile maneuvers” of its enemies were only lending strength to missile development.
North Korea’s economy may be feeling the squeeze of sanctions, according to Seoul unification minister Hong Yong-pyo.
Hong said Tuesday North Korea trade has taken a hit since the sanctions were implemented, including its coal exports, according to local news service Newsis.