Obama dials Lee Myung-bak to express solidarity, condemn “outrageous” action by the North as U.S. warship is dispatched for joint exercises.
THE WHITE HOUSE
Office of the Press Secretary
November 23, 2010
Readout of the President’s Call with President Lee of the Republic of Korea
This evening, President Obama called President Lee to tell him that the United States stands shoulder to shoulder with our close friend and ally, the Republic of Korea. The President strongly condemned the attack by North Korea on the South Korean island of Yeonpyeoung, which took the lives of at least two Koreans and injured many more.
President Obama told President Lee that the thoughts and prayers of the American people are with the loved ones of those who were killed or wounded, and with all of the Korean people. President Obama said that North Korea must stop its provocative actions, which will only lead to further isolation, and fully abide by the terms of the Armistice Agreement and its obligations under international law.
Going forward, the United States remains firmly and fully committed to the defense of its ally the Republic of Korea. The United States will work with the international community to strongly condemn this outrageous action by North Korea, and to advance peace and security in the region.
The two Presidents agreed to hold combined military exercises and enhanced training in the days ahead to continue the close security cooperation between our two countries, and to underscore the strength of our Alliance and commitment to peace and security in the region.
Pool Report #2:
AF1 landed at Grissom Air Reserve Base in Peru, Indiana at 11;49. Bill Burton gaggled on the plane.
Highlights: (please check against transcript).
On North Korea— Potus will be calling South Korean President Lee later today to express American solidarity. “The president is outraged by this action. We stand shoulder to shoulder with South Korea.”
Potus heard the news at 3:55 am when Tom Donilon called him.
“North Korea has a pattern of doing things that are provocative. This is a part of that pattern.”
No word on what specific actions the US might take to express its ire.
On reports that fake Taliban leaders are showing up at reconciliation talks in Afghanistan:
Burton said no American money has gone to these individuals.
“Broadly we have been able to make a lot of security progress. We’ve broken the momentum of the Taliban.”
“This is the president going to a place where they’ve seen some tough times.”
On extending Bush tax cuts:
Said key to get this done soon, “as we get into the Christmas shopping season” Americans want to know that the tax cut will be in place.
On meeting with GOP leadership:
“The president is committed to sitting down openly and honestly with the Republican leadership.”
Said that now that GOP controlled the House, “its up to them to be responsible members of this government.”
On Thanksgiving plans:
Potus will be at the White House.