President Obama will meet with United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki-moon at the White House Thursday afternoon, and the two leaders will discuss U.S. efforts to work with allies in South Korea and Japan, as well as Russia and China, to persuade Pyongyang to tone down its bellicose rhetoric.
White House spokesman Jay Carney confirmed that Mr. Obama and Mr. Ban will discuss the threats from North Korea, among other topics.
“We are working with our allies in Seoul and Tokyo as well as with Moscow and Beijing to try to bring about a change in behavior from the North Koreans, asking especially the Russians and the Chinese to use the influence they have — the unique influence they have with the North Koreans to prevail upon Pyongyang to ratchet down the rhetoric and the behavior,” he said.
Mr. Carney also downplayed Mr. Obama’s decision not to publicly discuss North Korea’s threats to launch an attack on South Korea or the United States, saying the bellicose rhetoric from Pyongyang is a “familiar pattern” emphasizing that the United States is prepared for any type of attack.
“The president has been directing his national security team to take necessary precautionary measures that will ensure that we can both defend ourself and our allies … defend the homeland,” Mr. Carney told reporters at Thursday’s briefing. “I think that represents the fact that that he is concerned about the stepped-up rhetoric and the provocative behavior by the North Korean regime.”
“It is also the case that what we have seen of late from Pyongyang represents a familiar pattern of behavior,” he added.
Mr. Carney was responding to a question about Mr. Obama’s decision not to address the threats from North Korea in public remarks.