The Straits Times
Published on Dec 13, 2012

Launch thrusts North Korea back on US agenda


WASHINGTON (AFP) - North Korea's surprise long-range rocket launch has forced it back onto the agenda of re-elected US President Barack Obama, who had all but given up at finding a way to influence the pariah state.

Leadership changes in China, South Korea and possibly Japan could bring fresh dynamics to long-stagnant diplomacy on North Korea, but Mr Obama's response to the launch has been in line with his approach throughout his first term.

The White House warned of consequences for the "provocative" launch, with the UN Security Council convening within hours Wednesday, but released only a written release rather than a high-profile statement by Obama or top officials.

The Obama administration has called its policy "strategic patience" - refusing to take major initiatives as it waits for North Korea to come around. The United States shifted slightly earlier this year when it agreed to provide food aid, but it rescinded the offer after a failed North Korean rocket launch.