`N Korea wastes millions on rockets, people starve`

Last Updated: Saturday, April 14, 2012 - 12:56

Washington: US President Barack Obama criticised the North Korean leadership on Saturday for spending millions of dollars on rockets "that don`t work", while the country`s population is "starving".

"They make all these investments, tens of millions of dollars, in rockets that don`t work at a time when their people are starving, literally," the US President said in an interview with the Spanish-language Telemundo TV channel.

The Unha-3 rocket - which North Korea said would put a satellite into orbit - was launched from Cholsan, a coastal town in the country`s northwest, in the early hours of Friday.

The US, South Korea and Japan and other countries observing the launch said the rocket, launched to mark the 100th anniversary of the birth of the nation`s late founding leader Kim Il-sung, crashed into the Yellow Sea shortly after blastoff.

"Obviously, this is an area of deep concern," he said.

"It`s a clear violation of the UN Security council resolutions and what this has done is further isolate them and made it more difficult for them to focus on what they should be focusing on, which is feeding their own people."

"I think it`s important to know that they`ve been trying to launch missiles like this for over a decade now and they don`t seem to be real good at it," Obama added.

The US President said Washington and its partners would "continue to keep the pressure" on the Communist state.

The White House condemned Friday`s launch, despite the failure. It has also put on hold the delivery of 240,000 tonnes of food it agreed to provide in exchange for Pyongayng`s promise to suspend its nuclear activities and long-range missile tests.

A State Department spokesperson said on Friday the "door does remain open for engagement, or that we`re prepared to engage constructively with North Korea".

"But as we`ve said many times, we`re not going to reward bad behaviour with engagement," Mark Toner added.

IANS



First Published: Saturday, April 14, 2012 - 12:56

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