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S. Korea, US leaders seek next step on North Korea

Published on May 7, 2013 11:44 PM

WASHINGTON (AFP) - US President Barack Obama and South Korea's new leader on Tuesday plotted the next moves on North Korea amid signs that the bellicose regime has stepped back from the brink as it faces growing pressure.

On her first foreign trip since her election as North-east Asia's first woman leader, President Park Geun Hye is seeking both a show of unity and to keep momentum in South Korea's drive to build an outsized role in world affairs.

Ms Park and Mr Obama began a meeting in the Oval Office hours after North Korea's military launched its latest threat, vowing to turn border islands into a "sea of flames" if a shell fell on its side during joint US-South Korea drills.

But tensions have appeared to subside since earlier this year when North Korea carried out its third atomic test and vowed to prepare for nuclear war against the United States, in remarks shrill even by Pyongyang's standards.

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