Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.

Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire 24.com network.

Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.


Obama vows to get tough with North Korea

13 February 2013, 14:53

Washington - President Barack Obama vowed on Tuesday to take "firm action" with US allies against North Korea and South Korea accelerated a planned upgrade to its offensive missiles after Pyongyang's third nuclear test.

China, North Korea's trade and financial lifeline, signed up to a UN Security Council declaration accusing the communist state of standing in "grave violation" of UN resolutions amid global condemnation of Tuesday's blast.

The Council highlighted its threat made last month - after North Korea breached UN resolutions by firing a long-range rocket - to take "significant action" if Pyongyang went ahead with the nuclear test.

But North Korea, which analysts say has closed ranks under the young leadership of Kim Jong-Un, remained defiant after saying the underground test was forced upon it by US "hostility".

"The DPRK [North Korea] will never be bound to any resolutions," said Jon Yong-Ryong, the first secretary of North Korea's mission in Geneva, berating the UN resolutions as "entirely unreasonable".

Any tougher UN action after years of sanctions against the recalcitrant North will depend on how far China is willing to push its ally. In his State of the Union address to Congress, Obama stepped up the rhetoric.

Worldwide alarm

"America will continue to lead the effort to prevent the spread of the world's most dangerous weapons," the US president said.

"The regime in North Korea must know that they will only achieve security and prosperity by meeting their international obligations."

North Korea alarmed friends and foes alike less than a day before Obama's speech when it carried out its latest nuclear test, which US and South Korean monitors said was much more powerful than the previous tests in 2006 and 2009.

Pyongyang boasted it had tested a "miniaturised" device, a claim that will fuel concerns it has moved closer to fitting a warhead on a ballistic missile.

Experts are assessing whether the test involved uranium, giving Pyongyang a new, easier-to-sustain method for nuclear fission alongside its depleted stocks of plutonium.

Obama said: "Provocations of the sort we saw last night will only isolate them further, as we stand by our allies, strengthen our own missile defence and lead the world in taking firm action in response to these threats."

South Korea, US deal

South Korea, which placed its US-backed military on alert after the test at North Korea's Punggye-ri nuclear test, said it would fast-track the development of longer-range ballistic missiles that could cover the whole of North Korea.

"We will speed up the development of ballistic missiles with a range of 800 kilometres," Defence Ministry spokesperson Kim Min-Seok told reporters.

In October last year, South Korea reached a deal with the United States to almost triple the range of its missile systems - with Seoul arguing it needed an upgrade to counter the North's missile and nuclear programmes.

Kim said the South would also speed up the deployment of a "kill chain" system capable of detecting, targeting and destroying North Korean missiles.

"The military is closely watching the North in case of further provocative acts," he said.

Following North Korea's nuclear test, the head of South Korea's intelligence agency warned that Pyongyang may well carry out a further test or a ballistic missile launch in the coming days or weeks.

Another round of tension

All 15 Council members including China backed Tuesday's UN statement and said they would "begin work immediately on appropriate measures".

Even China, which is keen to avoid the chaos that could ensue if the isolated North collapses, was stern in its condemnation of the test, summoning North Korea's ambassador in Beijing to protest the test.

The test ignited yet another round of tension on the Korean Peninsula, where peace has never been formally declared since a war split it between the authoritarian north and pro-Western south in the 1950s.

The North also appeared keen to broaden the conflict, insisting that any tightening of sanctions would trigger "even stronger second or third rounds of action".

The totalitarian country mobilised public opinion on its side, with state television showing footage of cheering, clapping citizens watching the test being announced on giant TV screens in the capital Pyongyang.



Read News24’s Comments Policy

Comment on this story
Comments have been closed for this article.

Read more from our Users

Submitted by
Shakila Alivitsa
Submitted by
Shakila Alivitsa
What do men mean when they say th...

As much as men think they are the ones confused by relationships, they have a better idea of it than most women actually do. Read more...

Submitted by
Victor Tinto
Rift Valley leaders to hold meeti...

Rift Valley leaders will hold a meeting to decide DP William Ruto's place in the Jubilee Party following emergence of Peter Kenneth as a main challenger to his place within the current structure. Read more...

Submitted by
William Korir
DP Ruto, not Kenneth the main man...

DP William Ruto will be the main man for the Jubilee Party in 2022, Kiraitu Murungi insists. Read more...

Submitted by
William Korir
Jittery times for DP Ruto as Kenn...

Peter Kenneth is a genuine threat to DP William Ruto's 2022 State House bid... and the DP's allies know it. Read more...

Submitted by
William Korir
I will name those sabotaging DP R...

A Jubilee Party Governor says that he will name and shame those within Jubilee he says are undermining DP William Ruto's 2022 State House plans. Read more...