By Amie Parnes - 03/26/12 09:30 AM EDT
President Obama on Monday pressed North Korea's new dictator Kim Jong-Un to "have the courage to pursue peace" and said that if the leadership in Pyongyang didn't change course, the nation would be faced with "more broken dreams" and isolation.
During a speech to college students in Seoul, South Korea, held at the beginning of a two-day Nuclear Security Summit, Obama spoke directly to the new regime in Pyongyang, telling the leadership that the United States has "no hostile intent toward your country" and was "committed to peace." But a stern Obama also warned North Korea that the "provocations and pursuit of nuclear weapons have not achieved the security you seek," but have "undermined it."
"There will be no rewards for provocations — those days are over," the president continued. "This is the choice before you. This is the decision you must make. Today we say, Pyongyang, have the courage to pursue peace and give a better life to the people of North Korea."
Obama's comments came as tensions flared on the Korean peninsula. In recent weeks, North Korea said it would mark the 100th anniversary of the birthday of the late Kim Il Sung by launching a long-range missile next month. Responding to the threat, South Korea sent a strong warning to North Korea that it would shoot down any rocket that enters its territory.
During his speech, Obama also issued a strong warning to Iran regarding its plan to acquire nuclear weapons. "There is time to solve this diplomatically. It is always my preference to solve these issues diplomatically, but time is short," he said, reiterating what he has said in public statements in recent weeks.
"Iran's leaders must understand that there is no escaping the choice before it," Obama said. "Iran must act with the seriousness and sense of urgency that this moment demands. Iran must meet its obligations."