Open

Coming up

Don't miss

Replay


LATEST SHOWS

FOCUS

Pakistan's Ahmadis living in fear of extremist attacks

Read more

WEB NEWS

Web users show solidarity with Iraqi Christians

Read more

THE INTERVIEW

Gilles Kepel, Islamic and Arab world specialist

Read more

BUSINESS DAILY

Argentina braced for another debt default

Read more

DEBATE

Too Late for Sanctions? Pressure Mounts on Russia over Ukraine (part 2)

Read more

DEBATE

Too Late for Sanctions? Pressure Mounts on Russia over Ukraine

Read more

MEDIAWATCH

'What would you do?'

Read more

AFRICA NEWS

Ebola virus: Liberia shuts most border points

Read more

IN THE PAPERS

Netanyahu says Gaza operation will not end quickly

Read more

  • France extradites suspected Jewish Museum shooter to Belgium

    Read more

  • Video: How tourism is helping Rwanda’s gorillas, ex-poachers

    Read more

  • Calls mount to ban France’s ‘violent’ Jewish Defence League

    Read more

  • Rare Sri Lankan leopard cubs born in French zoo

    Read more

  • France evacuates its nationals from Libya

    Read more

  • Israeli strikes target symbols of Hamas power

    Read more

  • US says Russia violated arms treaty by testing cruise missile

    Read more

  • Argentina in last-ditch effort to avert default

    Read more

  • Karzai’s cousin killed in Afghan suicide attack

    Read more

  • Libya oil tanker fire blazes out of control

    Read more

  • In pictures: From Gaza to Mosul, bittersweet end of Ramadan for Muslims

    Read more

  • France offers asylum to Iraqi Christians

    Read more

  • Moroccan police arrest French al Qaeda recruiter

    Read more

  • French mayor files complaint against US father who risked kids’ lives on Mont Blanc

    Read more

  • French footballer Griezmann headed to Atletico Madrid

    Read more

  • Luc Besson’s sci-fi thriller ‘Lucy’ tops US box office

    Read more

Asia-pacific

Obama, Lee vow to 'break the pattern' on North Korean negotiations

Video by Fiona CAMERON

Text by News Wires

Latest update : 2009-11-19

Following a meeting with South Korean President Lee Myung-bak on the last stop of his Asian tour Thursday, visiting US President Barack Obama vowed to press ahead with North Korean negotiations, but with a new approach.

REUTERS - U.S. President Barack Obama and his South Korean counterpart pressed North Korea on Thursday to return to dormant nuclear talks and said it was time for the reclusive state to break a pattern of provocative behaviour.

Obama and President Lee Myung-bak also agreed to push for progress on approving a bilateral free trade deal that has yet to be ratified by legislatures in either country two years after it was signed.

"The thing I want to emphasise is that President Lee and I both agree we want to break the pattern that existed in the past, in which North Korea behaves in a provocative fashion, and then is willing to return to talk ... and then that leads to seeking further concessions," Obama said.

Lee, standing beside Obama at a news conference after their bilateral meeting in Seoul, said that North Korea could hope for massive economic aid if it renounces its nuclear arms ambitions.

"I hope that by accepting our proposal, the North will secure safety for itself, improve the quality of life for its people, and open the path to a new future," Lee said.

North Korea rattled regional security just ahead of Obama's first visit to Seoul since taking office by sparking a naval fight with the South and telling the world early this month it had produced a fresh batch of arms-grade plutonium.

The United States, South Korea and Japan have cranked up pressure on the destitute North by squeezing lines of finance to get it back to six-country negotiations on its nuclear programme.

Obama said the door was open for resolving the nuclear stand-off and a special envoy, Stephen Bosworth, would go to Pyongyang on Dec. 8 for talks, but Washington was determined not to distracted by "side issues" thrown up by North Korea.

Lee signals movement on FTA

Obama flies home later in the day after perhaps the least problematic leg of a week-long Asia trip that included China, where he barely bridged divides on trade, currency policy and Tibet.

Thousands of cheering South Koreans lined the streets of downtown Seoul as Obama's motorcade drove by, unlike in Chinawhere there was little popular excitement over his visit.

The thorniest issue between Washington and Seoul is their free trade agreement, which analysts say could increase their annual two-way trade by about $20 billion from $83 billion now.

"President Obama and I once again confirmed the economic and strategic importance of the free trade agreement between our countries and agreed to work on its progress," Lee said.

Date created : 2009-11-19

  • DIPLOMACY

    Obama tackles Chinese misgivings in Shanghai student speech

    Read more

  • DIPLOMACY

    Obama's Asia trip aimed at luring help on economic and security issues

    Read more

COMMENT(S)