Hours after President Barack Obama warned that North Korea would achieve nothing with threats or provocations, Pyongyang, the capital of North Korea, moved a long-range rocket it plans to test fire to a launch pad on Monday, a South Korean defense ministry official reported. The news of the launch came at the start of a two-day nuclear summit in Seoul, South Korea that brings together world leaders from the United States, China, Russia, and dozens of other nations to discuss how to handle nuclear terrorism and how to secure the world’s nuclear material. However, North Korea’s announcement of its plans to carry out a rocket-powered satellite launch in mid-April is overshadowing a message of international cooperation for the summit.
South Korea reported that it considers North Korea’s satellite launch an attempt to develop a nuclear-armed missile, while President Obama said on Monday that such a launch would bring ramifications. During a speech to students at Seoul’s Kankuk University of Foreign Studies, Obama said, “Here in Korea, I want to speak directly to the leadership in Pyongyang. The United States has no hostile intent toward your country. But by now it should be clear, your provocations and pursuit of nuclear weapons have not achieved the security you seek. They have undermined it.” The use of ballistic missile technology is in violation of the United Nations Security Council Resolution in 1874 and against a deal reached with the United States earlier this month that North Korea would not carry out nuclear or missile tests in return for food aid. In his speech, Obama continued and said, “There will be no rewards for provocations. Those days are over. To the leaders of Pyongyang I say, this is the choice before you. This is the decision that you must make. Today we say, Pyongyang, have the courage to pursue peace and give a better life to the people of North Korea.”