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N. Korea leader inspects military as tensions high
by Staff Writers
Seoul (AFP) Feb 23, 2013


US, Japan vow 'strong action' on N. Korea: Obama
Washington (AFP) Feb 22, 2013 - President Barack Obama on Friday said the United States and Japan are committed to "strong actions" in response to North Korea after the communist state defiantly carried out a nuclear test.

Meeting Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, Obama said the two leaders spoke about "our concerns about the provocative actions that have been taken by North Korea and our determination to take strong actions in response."

Abe, who is known for his hard line on North Korea, said that he agreed with Obama on the need to press for a new UN Security Council resolution condemning Pyongyang.

"We just cannot tolerate the actions of North Korea such as launching missiles and conducting a nuclear test," said Abe, sitting next to Obama in the White House's Oval Office.

"We agreed that we would cooperate with each other in dealing resolutely with North Korea," he said.

Abe and Obama also spoke about Japan's rising tensions with China, although they took a measured tone in their public remarks.

The visit comes less than two weeks after North Korea carried out a third nuclear test in defiance of international sanctions backed by Pyongyang's close ally China, sending shockwaves across the region.

Earlier this week a US think tank said North Korea has resumed activity at the nuclear site following the internationally condemned test, raising fears the isolated, Stalinist-style regime could carry out more explosions.

Examining satellite photos, the US-Korea Institute at Johns Hopkins University detected a rise in traffic at the Punggye-ri site but cautioned that there was not enough evidence to assert that a new test was in the works.

Abe has moved to increase officially pacifist Japan's defense spending for the first time in more than a decade in a show of resolve toward Pyongyang and Beijing.

Ahead of his visit, Abe told The Washington Post that China's stance of "coercion and intimidation" would eventually hurt its investment climate, triggering a rebuke from Beijing.

North Korean leader Kim Jong-Un has overseen a military drill, state media said Saturday, his third such inspection in as many days as tensions run high following Pyongyang's third nuclear test.

Accompanied by top military commanders, Kim watched a flight exercise and a paratrooping drill by the Korean People's Army, the Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) said.

"He called on the KPA service personnel to put spurs to making preparations for going into action, keeping themselves at maximum alert at all times.

"Once the enemies make a provocation, you should give full play to the inexhaustible combat capability to deal deadly blows at them ... and blow up their strongholds of aggression," he was quoted as saying by KCNA.

The state news agency did not to give the date of the visit but it was believed Kim's latest trip was on Friday.

KCNA said Friday Kim had also inspected a tactical attack exercise combined with live shell firing.

On Thursday, KCNA reported he had visited KPA Unit 323, which is believed to be an anti-air missile unit.

North Korea on February 12 carried out its third nuclear test in seven years in what it says was a riposte to the US hostility shown in the widening of existing UN sanctions following its satellite launch in December last year.

World powers on the UN Security Council united to condemn the nuclear test, and the United States led calls for tougher sanctions.

But Pyongyang has threatened still stronger action, defying warnings of United Nations measures.

North Korea is already under international sanctions for conducting two nuclear tests in 2006 and 2009, which both came after long-range rocket launches.

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