China `recalculating` its policy on North Korea: Obama

China appears to be "recalculating" its policy on North Korea after the latter`s recent provocative behaviour, US President Barack Obama said.

Updated: Mar 14, 2013, 11:54 AM IST

Washington: China appears to be "recalculating" its policy on North Korea after the latter`s recent provocative behaviour, US President Barack Obama said here on Thursday.

"I think what most is promising is we`re starting to see the Chinese, who historically have tolerated misbehaviour on the part of the North Koreans because they`re worried about the regime collapse and how that could spill over to them," Obama told the ABC news in an interview.

"You`re starting` to see them recalculate and say, "You know what? This is starting` to get outta hand. And, so, we may slowly be in a position where we`re able to force- a recalculation on the part of North Koreans about what`s gonna be good for them or not," Obama said responding to a question on China`s policy with regard to North Korea.

When asked about the recent North Korea rhetoric, Obama said they "probably can`t" launch a nuclear attack on US, but he said "we do not like margin of error" when it comes to nuclear weapons."

"What`s also true is missile technology improves and their missile technology has improved. Now, what we`ve done is we`ve made sure that we`ve got defensive measures to prevent any attacks on the homeland. We are not anticipating any of that. But we`ve seen outta the North Koreans is they go through these periodic spasms of provocative behaviour," Obama said.

Obama made it clear that the US and its international partners would like to see a series of steps to break their isolation with the international community.

"I think there are a lot of things. But they could start by ending nuclear testing. They could start by ending some of this missile testing. There are a whole battery of confidence-building measures that they could engage in," he said.

"I think all the countries involved have said, "We would reciprocate if we saw- the- any kind of responsible behaviour from the North Koreans. We have not seen it yet. That doesn`t mean that- they may not- change their calculations," Obama said.

"One thing we`ve tried to do is to make sure that we`re not gonna reward bad behaviour. There previously have been patterns where they bang the spoon on the table and then suddenly they get food aid. Or they get other concessions," he said.

"And then they come back to the table and negotiate a little bit, and then if they get bored they start provocative actions again. We`ve broken that pattern. Now, what we need to see is whether they`re willing to come in a serious way to negotiate these issues," Obama said.