Washington: The White House advised North Korea to stop digging deeper into the hole of provocation that is leading them into further international isolation while the Pentagon said that Pyongyang has taken a provocation pause.
"North Korea`s leaders would be, I think, well-advised to heed that and to stop digging themselves deeper into the hole of provocation and the isolation that goes along with it," Special Assistant to the President and Senior Director for Asian Affairs Daniel Russel told reporters yesterday.
Noting that many analysts have anticipated that the North Korean provocation cycle would culminate in some sort of a grand fireworks display, he said no one can rule that out.
Russel was briefing reporters on the eve of the White House meeting between US President Barack Obama and his South Korean counterpart Park Guen-hye.
"In terms of the North Korean takeaway, I think that the lesson that should be obvious and hopefully will not be lost on North Korea is that all of the Sturm and Drang, all of the threats and hyperbole, all of the saber-rattling that they have put into play has not opened a seam between the US and the Republic of Korea," he said.
"To the contrary, the alliance is as strong or stronger than it has ever been. To the contrary, the relationship between the new government of President Park and the US government is off to a very strong and steady start," he said.
"The decision to launch or not launch missiles, to conduct provocation or to stand down or defer it, is a decision that rests with the North Koreans. And since we don`t know that they are not going to do it, it`s premature to celebrate it as good news," he said.
"The decision in any given week not to compound the mistakes that the North Korean leadership have been making in taking aggressive, bellicose, belligerent and provocative actions doesn`t come close to meeting their international obligations under the UN Security Council resolutions.
"North Korea knows what it needs to do. No one should be prepared to declare a victory yet," he said.
"The signs that we are looking for from the North Koreans and signs that would lead us to take incremental steps to support economic growth and to adjust sanctions, for example, would need to be credible and irreversible steps signaling a commitment to end their nuclear program and to completely denuclearize the peninsula," he said.
Pentagon Press Secretary George Little said that the North Koreans have taken a provocation pause. "What we have seen recently is a provocation pause."
During an off camera news conference, Little told reporters that an international pressure, in particular those from China, had a role to play in the North Koreans not launching its missile.