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Obama issues statement of "grave concern" over North Korea

May 24, 2009 | 11:16 pm

North Korea's leader Kim Jong Il

The White House issued a statement today on behalf of President Obama regarding the urgent situation in North Korea. The president calls the situation on the Korean Peninsula a matter of "grave concern."

The statement calls North Korea's announced nuclear test and suspected missile test "blatant defiance" of the U.N. Security Council that "directly and recklessly" challenges the international community, increasing regional tensions and deepening North Korea's isolation.

Earlier, the State Department had issued a statement expressing "grave concern" over the reported test. Soon after, the White House produced its own statement on behalf of the president, an obvious escalation of concern and importance, which was immediately flashed around Asia, where it was a normal Monday.

The full text of the president's statement is below.

-- Andrew Malcolm

Statement from the President Regarding North Korea

Today, North Korea said that it has conducted a nuclear test in violation of international law. It appears to also have attempted a short range missile launch. These actions, while not a surprise given its statements and actions to date, are a matter of grave concern to all nations. North Korea's attempts to develop nuclear weapons, as well as its ballistic missile program, constitute a threat to international peace and security. 

By acting in blatant defiance of the United Nations Security Council, North Korea is directly and recklessly challenging the international community. North Korea's behavior increases tensions and undermines stability in Northeast Asia. Such provocations will only serve to deepen North Korea's isolation. It will not find international acceptance unless it abandons its pursuit of weapons of mass destruction and their means of delivery.

The danger posed by North Korea's threatening activities warrants action by the international community. We have been and will continue working with our allies and partners in the Six-Party Talks as well as other members of the U.N. Security Council in the days ahead.   ###

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Photo: North Korean leader Kim Jong-il. Credit: Associated Press

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