Timeline Capsule
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South Korea

President Obama Visits South Korea and Takes Joint Stand Against North Korea

On April 25, 2014, President Barack Obama arrived in Seoul Korea, from Japan, while on a tour of Asia.  He was to spend two days there, holding talks with South Korean leader Park Geun-hye and visiting U.S. troops at the DMZ, before flying to Malaysia.  This official visit marked his fourth visit to South Korea. 

In their talks, the two leaders agreed to reconsider another delay of the scheduled 2015 transfer of wartime operation control (OPCON) of South Korean forces from the United States to South Korea.

Obama Visits Korean DMZ
President Park Geun-hye and President Barack Obama attend a joint press conference at Cheong Wa Dae on April 25, 2014.

During this time, surveillance intelligence reports indicated that North Korea was likely planning a fourth nuclear test.  North Korea had carried out three such test in the past, the most recent being in February 2013.  After each test, the UN imposed sanctions that prohibited North Korea from nuclear tests, under resolution 1718.

Before having arrived in Seoul, Obama called the North Korean problem “the most destabilizing, dangerous situation in all of the Asia-Pacific region”.  When speaking in Seoul, President Obama warned that provocations by Pyongyang would only lead to further isolation, and the U.S. and South Korea would never accept a nuclear North Korea.  He also stated that China was beginning to recognize that North Korea is “not just a nuisance but a significant problem to their own security”.

In a joint response, Presidents Park and Obama voiced a strong and clear message that any forms of future provocation by North Korea would only be met with further isolation and a stronger international response.  President Obama went on to say, “It is important for us to look at additional ways to apply pressure on North Korea, further sanctions that have even more bite”.    Both leaders stressed the importance of China’s role and cooperation in deterring the North’s provocation. 

President Obama followed by calling on Japan and South Korea to work together to resolve historical tensions and to move forward for their common interests.