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Obama: North Korea rocket launch concerning but not a surprise

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - U.S. President Barack Obama said he was concerned but not surprised about North Korea's rocket launch over the weekend, saying his administration is pressing China and working with South Korea to pressure North Korea's regi...

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - U.S. President Barack Obama said he was concerned but not surprised about North Korea's rocket launch over the weekend, saying his administration is pressing China and working with South Korea to pressure North Korea's regime and block its efforts.

In an interview aired on Monday, Obama told CBS he was not surprised at the launch, adding: "We have 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.

The interview was conducted on Sunday, when North Korea launched a long-range rocket that it said carried a satellite but stoked fears about its nuclear weapons capabilities.

Obama pointed to his conversation last week with China's President Xi Jinping, telling CBS he told the Chinese leader "about the need to really tighten the noose on" North Korea.

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The two leaders spoke on Friday.

He also said the United States "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."

U.S. officials and missile defense experts have said North Korea's latest rocket launch could trigger a buildup of U.S. missile defense systems in Asia.

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