Washington: Emphasising that North Korea has to pay for its recent provocative behaviour, US President Barack Obama and his South Korean counterpart Park Geun-Hye have said that engagement process would be initiated if Pyongyang gives up its nuclear ambitions.
"The key is that we will be prepared for a deterrence; that we will respond to aggression; that we will not reward provocative actions; but that we will maintain an openness to an engagement process when we see North Korea taking steps that would indicate that it is following a different path. That`s exactly the right approach," Obama told reporters during a joint White House news conference.
"All of us would benefit from a North Korea that transformed itself. Certainly, the people of North Korea would benefit. South Korea would be even stronger in a less tense environment on the peninsula. All the surrounding neighbours would welcome such a transition, such a transformation," Obama said.
"Regarding North Korea`s provocations and bad behaviour, we will make them pay - what I meant was that if they engage in military provocations and harm the lives of our people and the safety of our people, then naturally, as a President who gives the top priority to ensuring the safety of our people, it is something that we can`t just pass over,” Park said.
Obama said the actions being taken by the North Korean leader has been provocative.
"Obviously, I don’t know Kim Jong-un personally. I haven`t had a conversation with him, can`t really give you an opinion about his personal characteristics. What we do know is the actions that he`s taken have been provocative and seem to pursue a dead end," he said.
"I want to emphasise, President Park and myself very much share the view that we are going to maintain a strong deterrent capability; that we`re not going to reward provocative behaviour. But we remain open to the prospect of North Korea taking a peaceful path of denuclearisation, abiding by international commitments, rejoining the international community, and seeing a gradual progression in which both security and prosperity for the people of North Korea can be achieved," he said.