October 13, 2011 / 4:56 PM / 8 years ago

UPDATE 1-Obama: N.Korea's choice is disarmament or isolation

(Updates with Obama, Lee quotes)

WASHINGTON, Oct 13 (Reuters) - U.S. President Barack Obama said on Thursday North Korea poses a threat to U.S. and South Korean security and it faces a choice between accepting international demands it scrap its nuclear arms or facing deeper isolation.

“North Korea continues to pose a direct threat to the security of both our nations,” Obama said at a White House news conference with his South Korean counterpart, Lee Myung-bak.

“The choice is clear for North Korea: If Pyongyang continues to ignore its international obligations, it will invite even more pressure and isolation. If the North abandons its quest for nuclear weapons and moves toward denuclearization, it will enjoy greater security and opportunity for its people,” he said.

Lee said Seoul and Washington were in complete agreement on North Korea policy and on their insistence that Pyongyang must first take concrete steps to show it is serious about getting rid of its nuclear weapons as it pledged to do in a 2005 international agreement.

“When it comes to cooperation between our governments, we speak with one voice and we will continue to speak with one voice,” Lee said.

Ties between the two Koreas have been frosty since Lee took office in 2008 and linked aid to progress on North Korean nuclear disarmament. They deteriorated further after the North’s deadly attacks on the South last year — the sinking of a South Korean warship and the shelling of an island.

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