White House argues Obama has 'broken' cycle of rewarding North Korean actions

White House aides refuted claims on Friday that North Korea's missile launch represented a failure of President Obama's policies and his efforts to engage the country.

"Well, absolutely not," said Ben Rhodes, deputy national security adviser at the White House. "What this administration has done is broken the cycle of rewarding provocative actions by the North Koreans that we've seen in the past."

Rhodes said that under the George W. Bush administration there was a "substantial amount" of assistance provided to North Korea.

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He also said that North Korea was removed from the terrorism list, "even as they continued to engage in provocative actions."

Rhodes said the Obama administration has not provided assistance to the country and put "the most unprecedented sanctions in place against the North Koreans that we've seen to date."

"Those sanctions target in part their proliferation activities, their ballistic missile capabilities," he added. "And again, what we saw yesterday was a launch that did not meet its objective and that failed shortly after takeoff."

Even though the launch of the rocket failed, the White House said that it threatened regional security and violates international law. North Korea said it launched the missile to mark the 100th birth anniversary of North Korea's founder, Kim Il Sung.

Rhodes said there was "universal condemnation" of North Korea's launch by countries including China and Russia.

He said the nations would begin consultations at the U.N. Security Council on how to deliver a message to North Korea that the international community rejects the missile launch and will take additional steps if the country keeps making "provocative actions."