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Obama reaffirms security commitment after talks with S. Korean leader

WASHINGTON, May 7 (Xinhua) — U.S. President Barack Obama Tuesday reiterated defense commitment to South Korea with both conventional and nuclear forces after talks with visiting South Korean leader Park Geun-hye over recent tensions on the Korean Peninsula.

"If Pyongyang thought its recent threats would drive a wedge between South Korea and the United States or somehow garner the North international respect, today is further evidence that North Korea (the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea) has failed again," Obama told reporters following his meeting with Park at the White House.

Park, on her first overseas trip since taking office in February, said that she and Obama reaffirmed their intolerance of Pyongyang’s "threats and provocations" and that they agreed on the importance of continued strengthening of their deterrence against its nuclear and conventional weapons threat.

In their joint appearance before reporters, both Obama and Park called on the DPRK to take meaningful steps in return for engagement and assistance.

"Our two nations are prepared to engage with North Korea diplomatically and over time build trust," Obama said. "But, as always, and as President Park has made clear, the burden is on Pyongyang to take meaningful steps to abide by its commitments and obligations, particularly the denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula."

Park, who is on her first foreign trip since taking office, said her administration will work with Washington to "induce North Korea to make the right choice through multifaceted efforts, including the implementation of the Korean Peninsula trust-building process" that she had spelled out.

Park arrived in New York on Sunday to begin her visit to the United States, her first overseas trip as president. She met with U.S. President Barack Obama on Tuesday at the White House.

Tensions have been running high in the Korean Peninsula since the DPRK conducted its third nuclear test on Feb. 12 in a protest against the joint military drills between Seoul and Washington.

The DPRK declared that it entered "a state of war" with South Korea, threatening to launch a preemptive nuclear strike for self-defense. It named military bases in the U.S. territory of Guam and the U.S. state of Hawaii as possible targets.

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