By Julian Pecquet - 02/12/13 06:45 PM EST
President Obama called South Korean leader Lee Myung-bak on Tuesday and agreed to jointly seek further sanctions in retaliation for North Korea's third nuclear test.
“The two leaders condemned this highly provocative violation of North Korea’s international obligations,” according to a White House readout of the call. “They agreed to work closely together, including at the United Nations Security Council, to seek a range of measures aimed at impeding North Korea’s nuclear and ballistic missile programs and reducing the risk of proliferation.
“President Obama unequivocally reaffirmed that the United States remains steadfast in its defense commitments to the Republic of Korea, including the extended deterrence offered by the U.S. nuclear umbrella. The president also thanked President Lee for his leadership and friendship over the past four years and pledged to work closely with President-elect Park to further strengthen U.S.-ROK cooperation.”
Obama's ambassador to the United Nations, Susan Rice, also vowed to press for further sanctions at the U.N.
“To address the persistent danger posed by North Korea’s threatening activities, the U.N. Security Council must and will deliver a swift, credible and strong response by way of a Security Council resolution that further impedes the growth of DPRK’s nuclear weapons and ballistic missile programs and its ability to engage in proliferation activities,” she said. “In the days ahead, we will consult closely with other Council members and concerned U.N. member states to pursue appropriate further action.”
Republicans, however, questioned the U.N.'s effectiveness.
“The international community must act with renewed urgency to prevent North Korea and Iran's acquisition of such deadly technologies,” said House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-Va.). “Unfortunately, the United Nations' track record at stopping proliferation is not encouraging.”