By Ria Novosti
U.S. President Barack Obama lashed at the North Korean leadership on Saturday for spending millions of dollars on rockets “that don’t work,” while the country’s population is “starving.”
“They make all these investments, tens of millions of dollars, in rockets that don’t work at a time when their people are starving, literally,” the U.S. president said in an interview with the Spanish-language Telemundo TV channel.
The Unha-3 rocket – which the North said would put a satellite into orbit – was launched from Cholsan, a coastal town in the country’s northwest in the early hours of Friday morning.
The United States, South Korea and Japan and other countries observing the launch said the rocket, launched to mark the 100th anniversary of the birth of the nation’s late founding leader Kim Il-sung, crashed into the Yellow Sea shortly after blastoff at around 07:39 local time (22:39 GMT Thursday).
“Oviously this is an area of deep concern,” he said. “It’s a clear violation of UN Security council resolutions and what this has done is further isolate them and made it more difficult for them to focus on what they should be focusing on, which is feeding their own people.”
“I think it’s important to know that they’ve been trying to launch missiles like this for over a decade now and they don’t seem to be real good at it,” Obama added.
The U.S. president said Washington and its partners would “continue to keep the pressure” on the Communist state.
The White House condemned Friday’s launch, despite the failure. It has also put on hold the delivery of 240,000 tons of food it agreed to provide in exchange for Pyongayng’s promise to suspend its nuclear activities and long-range missile tests.
A State Department spokesman said on Friday the “door does remain open for engagement, or that we’re prepared to engage constructively with North Korea.”
“But as we’ve said many times, we’re not going to reward bad behavior with engagement,” Mark Toner added. “We’re in intensive consultations with all our Six-Party colleagues… These consultations continue intensively, and moving forward, we’re going to continue to talk with them as we talk about next steps.