Barack Obama offered his toughest talk yet on nuclear issues today in a joint press conference with South Korean President Lee Myung-bak. Obama blasted Iran for turning down a deal to turn their nuclear stockpiles into fuel rods, “for internal political reasons, or perhaps because they are stuck in some of their own rhetoric.” He said that the US was now moving to negotiate sanctions with its allies.
Obama said he was still hopeful that he could bring North Korea back to the bargaining table. But he and Lee intend “to break the pattern in which North Korea behaves in a provocative fashion, then is willing to return to talks…and then leaves the talks and seeks further concessions.” This is likely Obama’s easiest stop in Asia, notes the New York Times. Lee, a close ally, offered Obama a warm reception complete with a rendition of “The Star-Spangled Banner.”