Obama: North Korea Must Engage in Diplomacy

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CAEN, France -- President Barack Obama on Saturday suggested a new, stronger response to North Korean nuclear and missile testing, saying that he prefers continued diplomacy unless the communist country refuses to accept international calls to end to its nuclear program.

"Diplomacy has to involve the other side engaging in serious way, and we have not seen that reaction from North Korea," Obama said, promising to take "a very hard look" at next steps. "I don't think there should be an assumption that we will simply continue down a path in which North Korea is constantly destabilizing the region and we continue to act in the same ways."

Calling North Korea's recent nuclear test and missile launches provocative, Obama escalated his warnings to the country following a private meeting with his French counterpart, Nicolas Sarkozy, before the leaders commemorated the D-Day invasion that cemented the trans-Atlantic alliance.

On other matters, Obama and Sarkozy stood united in efforts to thwart Iran's disputed nuclear ambitions and bring about a Mideast peace that provides for separate Israeli and Palestinian states.

Associated Press writers Mark S. Smith, Angela Charlton, Julien Proult, Elaine Ganley and Jenny Barchfield contributed to this report.

Copyright 2009 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.

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Jennifer Loven

Jennifer Loven

AP White House Correspondent

The Associated Press is the backbone of the world's information system serving thousands of daily newspaper, radio, television and online customers with coverage in all media and news in all formats. It is the largest and oldest news organization in the world, serving as a source of news, photos, graphics, audio and video.