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Obama warns N. Korea against nuclear threats



SEOUL, South Korea (AP) - President Barack Obama warned North Korea on Saturday that the United States "will not hesitate to use our military might" to defend allies, showcasing U.S. power in the region amid China's growing influence and Pyongyang's unpredictable nuclear threats.

Obama's visit to Seoul comes as North Korea has threatened to conduct its fourth nuclear test, leading Obama to raise the possibility of further sanctions.

"The commitment that the United States of America has made to the security of the Republic of Korea only grows stronger in the face of aggression," Obama said in a speech to some of the 28,000 American service members stationed in South Korea to keep watch on its northern neighbor. "Our alliance does not waiver with each bout of their attention seeking. It just gains the support of the rest of the world."

The website 38 North, which closely monitors North Korea, said commercial satellite imagery from Wednesday showed increased movement of vehicles and materials near what are believed to be the entrances to two completed tunnels at Punggye-ri nuclear test site. The movements could be preparations for an underground atomic explosion, although predicting underground tests is notoriously difficult.

Obama ridiculed North Korea's attempt to show force. "Anybody can make threats," he said. "Anyone can move an army. Anyone can show off a missile. That doesn't make you strong."

He said real strength comes from having an open participatory democracy, open markets and a society free to speak out against its government.

"We don't use our military might to impose these things on others, but we will not hesitate to use our military might to defend our allies and our way of life," Obama said to cheers from the uniformed troops who filled a field house at Yongsan Garrison, headquarters for U.S. forces in South Korea.

Obama's 10-minute speech followed a rare joint defense briefing with South Korean President Park Geun-hye that focused on efforts to counter the North's nuclear ambitions. U.S. Army Gen. Curtis Scaparrotti, the commander of the joint U.S.-South Korea command, told the two presidents that his team "works together every day to make sure that we defend the Republic of Korea and that we deter North Korea."

Following his remarks, Obama was heading to Malaysia, the third stop on his four-country Asia swing. The mission of the trip was to underscore U.S. commitment to the region at a period of uncertainty between North Korea's provocations and China's growing power. While the U.S. has long been the most powerful military influence in the Asia-Pacific region, Pentagon spending is being slashed at the same time China has been boosting its defense budget.

Beijing still lags far behind the U.S. in both military funding and technology. But its spending boom is attracting new scrutiny at a time of severe cuts in U.S. defense budgets that have some questioning Washington's commitments to its Asian allies, including some who have lingering disputes with China.

At the same time, the U.S. military is seeking to redirect resources to the Asia-Pacific as it draws down its commitment in Afghanistan, though there is concern that budget cuts could threaten plans to base 60 percent of U.S. naval assets in the region. Chief of Naval Operations Adm. Jonathan Greenert recently warned that U.S. capabilities to project power "would not stay ahead" of potential adversaries, given the fiscal restraints.

Earlier Saturday, Obama promoted trade between the U.S. and South Korea with executives from businesses including Hyundai, Samsung, Korean Air, Microsoft, Boeing, Goldman Sachs and others. "As important as the security relationship is and the alliance is between the Republic of Korea and the United States, what is also important is the incredible and growing economic ties that are creating jobs and opportunity in both countries," Obama said.

While in Seoul, Obama has paid tribute to victims from last week's ferry disaster. The vast majority of the 300 dead or missing were students from a single high school near the capital city.

Join the discussion

1000|Char. 1000  Char.
Tom King April 26 2014 at 11:54 AM

OBAMA, PLEASE STOP ALL THE LIES

Mr. Obama and his administration are just ignoring the fact that they spent 5 Billion trying to influence the Ukraine Gov. and that they orchestrated the Coup of Victor Yanukovich and NOW they are making Stupid, Insulting, Repugnant and Scathing remarks and through their Stupid Posturing, they are just making matters worse. They are blaming Mr. Putin for his intervention in the Crimea and Totally ignoring the Political Disaster in Kiev, which was created with both the US Gov and EU support and caused the deaths of over 100 people. They are placing sanctions against Russia when the US and EU are responsible for the whole problem. What is their RATIONALE?

WHY is the US Government backing the Radical Right, Neo-Fascist, Svoboda THUGS that have illegally taken over the Ukraine Government by FORCE that was voted in by legitimate elections? These men are part of the Right, Radical, Neo-Fascist, Svoboda Groups, who used FORCE to over throw Victor Yanukovich the duly elected Ukraine President.

OBAMA'S OBSESSION with Ukraine is just a DIVERSION to get the American Citizens from FOCUSING on ALL THE PROBLEMS with the GRID LOCK IN WASHINGTON and that NOTHING CONSTRUCTIVE IS BEING DONE to solve the many problems here in the USA. That his Presidency IS A FAILURE and the US is on the verge of Bankruptcy and Revolution and he has plunged the US into a 16 Trillion Dollar Debt that will be passed onto our children and grand children.

PLEASE STOP ALLTHE LIES. HOW STUPID DO YOU THINK THE AMERICAN PEOPLE ARE?

FACTS:
The US Gov. has spent over 5 Billion Dollars trying to influence the Ukraine Government. WHY? FOR WHAT? WHAT do they want with Ukraine? What is their Rationale?

The US along with the EU backed the COUP of Victor Yanukovich and are responsible for the deaths of over 100 people and they TOTALLY IGNORE their participation. They act like it NEVER HAPPENED.

The self-imposed Right Radical, Neo-Fascist, Svoboda leaders in Ukraine did so by force and now they are using the Ukraine military against their own citizens in the Eastern part of Ukraine, who have peacefully proclaimed their self-determination but they have done NOTHING to stop the Radical Groups still rioting in Kiev and who still occupy the buildings that they occupied during the Coup of Victor Yanukovich

OBAMA is controlling the US NEWS Media thus giving the American people false information trying to sway them to be against Mr. Putin and Russia.

MR. OBAMA, PLEASE STOP ALLTHE LIES. HOW STUPID DO YOU THINK THE AMERICAN PEOPLE ARE?

Thank You
Tom King
A US Citizen and Patriot

Flag Reply +8 rate up
the1fee April 26 2014 at 8:37 AM

What with the same rules of engagement our sons are dying from in Afghanistan? No more - we are sick of burying our children for political chess games.......... Sick of our sons/daughters abandoned when they return.

Flag Reply +7 rate up
M.T. Swinehart April 26 2014 at 12:02 PM

I'll bet "Kim, the Younger" is quaking in his boots!

Flag Reply +4 rate up
1 reply
pacrowderholyoke M.T. Swinehart April 26 2014 at 1:08 PM

Yeah --- from laughter!

Flag Reply +1 rate up
whstokey April 26 2014 at 12:03 PM

The big 0 (zero) is all mouth and the world knows the truth. What ever happened to speak softly but carry a big stick? The only thing a bully understands is he will get a punch in the mouth if he messes with you and if it takes more you will do whatever it takes. The community organizer's words only work in a politically correct world and these bad guys live in a world where you fight or die. This isn't Sunday School and words are a waste of time! Man up or shut up!

Flag Reply +9 rate up
lancesammy April 26 2014 at 8:35 AM

all talk and no action

Flag Reply +3 rate up
cpenrod April 26 2014 at 8:35 AM

Why is he still in the White House? Why isn't he in prison? Why isn't he deported? Cowardly American politicians. Stupid Americans!

Flag Reply +5 rate up
hornetjlb April 26 2014 at 12:07 PM

I bet the North Korean leader is just shaking in his boots.

Flag Reply +8 rate up
1 reply
pacrowderholyoke hornetjlb April 26 2014 at 1:04 PM

From LAUGHTER,

Flag Reply +2 rate up
libsfault April 26 2014 at 12:08 PM

How true Clint Eastwood's remark about the empty chair still holds true today Now you can add the empty suit to that empty chair..........

Flag Reply +13 rate up
abkfla April 26 2014 at 12:18 PM

WHAT MILITARY ALL WE GOT LEFT ARE GENERALS AND OTHER SENIOR OFFICERS AND

Flag Reply +4 rate up
philips0811 April 26 2014 at 12:18 PM

Let's see, we've been making all these threats: Russia, China, Iran, Syria, now North Korea, all the while our military is being reduced to pre WWII levels. Seems kind of off-kilter somehow.... Does the Celebrity Spokespresident really understand a single aspect of military affairs other than drone strikes are like the video games he plays on his Blackberry? I mean, it doesn't seem that complex. If you make military threats, you probably should have a military. I'm sure he knows better than that though, just ask any Democrat.

Flag Reply +8 rate up
1 reply
ngagnon558 philips0811 April 26 2014 at 12:27 PM

Obama's legacy....piss off the Russians, piss off the N. Koreans, piss off the Syrians, alienate the Israelis, the French, and the Brits along with the American people....he is even pissing off the Unions now with the Keystone pipeline issue....
Ever notice the only people that Obama doesn't alienate or piss off are the Muslim's??? how interesting.
wonder if they are covered under Obamacare?

Flag Reply +6 rate up
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