Obama urges DPRK to stop "belligerent approach"

U.S. President Barack Obama on Thursday urged the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK) to end its "belligerent approach," amid heightened tensions on the Korean Peninsula. "We both agree that now is the time for North Korea to end the kind of belligerent approach that they've been taking and to try to lower temperatures. Nobody wants to see a conflict on the Korean Peninsula," Obama told reporters at the White House after holding talks with United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki-moon.

"We will continue to try to work to resolve some of those issues diplomatically even, as I indicated to the secretary- general, that the United States will take all necessary steps to protect its people and to meet our obligations under our alliances in the region," Obama said. Tensions have been heightened on the Korean Peninsula since the DPRK conducted its third nuclear test on Feb. 12 in protest against joint military drills between the Republic of Korea and the United States.

The DPRK has declared "a state of war" with the South and threatened to launch a preemptive nuclear strike for self-defense. The country on Tuesday urged all foreign organizations, companies and tourists in the South to evacuate in case of war, saying the DPRK "does not want to see foreigners in South Korea fall victim to the war" as the situation on the peninsula "is inching close to a thermonuclear war."

Philippines News agency