President Obama is emphasizing cooperation on his first major trip to Asia, opening with a warning to North Korea that there will be tough, unified action by the U.S. and its Asian partners if the Koreans fail to abandon their nuclear weapons programs.
The hard line on North Korea was a prominent theme of a speech that was intended to showcase a United States that, under Obama's leadership, seeks deeper and more equal engagement in Asia.
Obama said after a meeting with Japanese Prime Minister Yukio Hatoyama that "it's absolutely vital" that North Korea bow to international demands that they give up nuclear weapons ambitions.
If the North Koreans comply with the demands, "then they can open the door to a better future," Obama said. "If not, we will remain united in implementing U.N. resolutions that are in place and ... helping to shape a strategy that meets our security needs and convinces Pyongyang to move in a better direction."