By Hwang Doo-hyong
U.S. President Barack Obama has called on Chinese President Hu Jintao to ask for China’s help in reining in North Korea’s nuclear weapons programs and other provocations, the White House said Monday.
The call placed late Sunday comes as tensions are mounting on the Korean Peninsula after North Korea’s shelling of a South Korean island near the disputed western sea border that killed four people, including two marines, and injured dozens of others last month in the first attack on South Korean soil since the end of the 1950-53 Korean War.
Obama “urged China to work with us and others to send a clear message to North Korea that its provocations are unacceptable,” White House spokesman Robert Gibbs said in a statement.
“The president condemned the North Korean shelling of a South Korean island on November 23 and its pursuit of a uranium enrichment program in defiance of its obligations.”
North Korea early last month revealed a uranium enrichment program at its nuclear facilities in Yongbyon, north of Pyongyang, spawning concerns that it will serve as another way of making nuclear bombs with the production of highly enriched uranium.