Seoul – Despite warnings from Seoul and Washington, a long-range rocket was transported to a site northwest of North Korea in preparation for a launch next month, officials announced yesterday. President Barack Obama, who is visiting Seoul to attend an international summit on nuclear security, and his South Korean counterpart, Lee Myung-bak urged Pyongyang to immediately abandon the project launch, warning that they react strongly to any provocation. Obama said that such a launch would jeopardize an agreement a few weeks ago with the United States providing for the dispatch of food aid in exchange for concessions in its nuclear activities.
“Bad behavior will not be rewarded,” said the American president during a joint press conference with his South Korean counterpart. “North Korea will achieve nothing by threats or provocations,” he added. Pyongyang says it wants to soon launch a long-range rocket loaded with a satellite, and asserts that satellite launches are part of a peaceful space program which is not related to the agreement with the United States. Washington, Seoul and other countries condemned the program, viewing it as a disguised military test missile, defying UN bans.