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Obama says he wasn't surprised by N. Korea's missile launch

2016/02/08 22:59

WASHINGTON, Feb. 8 (Yonhap) -- U.S. President Barack Obama said North Korea's launch of a long-range rocket didn't surprise him as he had anticipated the launch from the provocative and authoritarian regime.

"No. This is something that we have anticipated. We have seen a pattern of behavior over them," Obama said during an interview with CBS television held Sunday and aired Monday morning. "They are not very good at feeding their people, but they invest a huge amount in their weapons systems."

   It was the first time Obama has spoken in public about North Korea since the North's Jan. 6 nuclear test. In his State of the Union address that came a week after the nuclear test, Obama made no mention of the North, an omission that his aides later said was designed not to give Pyongyang the attention it wants.

Obama said the U.S. has been concerned about North Korea's behavior for a while.

"This is an authoritarian regime. It's provocative. It has repeatedly violated U.N. resolutions, tested and produced nuclear weapons and now they are trying to perfect their missile launch system," he said.

Obama said he spoke with Chinese President Xi Jinping a few days before the launch about the "need to really tighten the noose" on the North. He also noted the decision to begin official talks on the possible deployment of the THAAD missile defense system to South Korea.

"What we're also doing is consulting with the South Koreans for the first time about more missile defense capabilities to prevent any possibility that North Korea could reach U.S. facilities or U.S. populations," Obama said.