Obama talks to Japanese, S. Korean leaders

May 25, 2009 at 11:52 PM
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WASHINGTON, May 25 (UPI) -- President Barack Obama, speaking to South Korean and Japanese leaders Monday after North Korea's nuclear test, restated U.S. commitment to defend their nations.

The White House said Obama telephoned both South Korean President Lee Myung-bak and Japanese Prime Minister Taro Aso after North Korea claimed it had conducted a nuclear test, its second since October 2006.

To both Lee and Aso, the president repeated "the unequivocal commitment" of the United States to the defense of both South Korea and Japan. Obama also told Aso of U.S. commitment to maintaining peace and security in Northeast Asia.

Obama informed the two he considered the testing "a reckless violation of international law" and a "clear violation of United Nations Security Council resolutions." He said the North's testing "warranted a collective response by the international community."

Obama, Lee and Aso agreed to work together closely to seek and support a strong Security Council resolution with concrete measures to curtail North Korea's nuclear and missile activities.

The White House said Aso and Obama also "agreed that continued close bilateral cooperation is imperative, and decided to intensify coordination with (South Korea) as well as with China and Russia."

The three leaders spoke as the 15-member Security Council condemned North Korea after an emergency meeting Monday requested by Japan.

Russian Ambassador Vitaly Churkin, as current president of the council's session, said the council members will start work "immediately on a resolution on this matter in accordance with the body's responsibilities under the U.N. charter."

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