Obama Visits Koreas' Demilitarised Zone As Tensions Rise

US President Barack Obama has visited the Demilitarised Zone (DMZ) separating the two Koreas, amid rising tensions over the North's planned rocket launch.

US President Barack Obama has visited the Demilitarised Zone (DMZ) separating the two Koreas, amid rising tensions over the North's planned rocket launch.

At an observation post on the volatile border, he told US troops they were "at freedom's frontier".

The US has voiced concern that the rocket launch due in April is a pretext for a missile test. Pyongyang says it wants to put a satellite into orbit.

On Monday, Mr Obama will attend a nuclear security summit in Seoul.

The two-day conference in the South Korean capital will be attended by leaders from more than 50 nations.

Its main focus will be preventing criminal or militant groups from acquiring nuclear weapons.

Pyongyang's nuclear programme is not officially on the agenda and North Korea is not taking part in the summit.

But American officials have made it clear that Mr Obama will be discussing the programmes of both North Korea and Iran in bilateral meetings with the Chinese and Russian presidents, the BBC's Lucy Williamson in Seoul reports.

The DMZ, a 4km (2.5-mile) wide strip of heavily mined land, has bisected the peninsula since the end of the Korean War in 1953. It is considered one of the world's most heavily-guarded border areas.

Making his first visit to the DMZ, Mr Obama told US troops serving at Camp Bonifas: "I could not be prouder of what you're doing... You guys are at freedom's frontier."

The president said the contrast between the two sides of the border "could not be starker" and paid tribute to the military personnel who had been "willing to create the space and the opportunity for freedom and prosperity".

Mr Obama then spent about 10 minutes at an observation post, looking towards North Korea through binoculars from behind bullet-proof glass.

'In bad faith'

Earlier this week, Japan said it was readying its anti-missile defences ahead of North Korea's launch, expected between 12 and 16 April.

Pyongyang says the long-range rocket - which would mark the 100th birthday of its late Great Leader Kim Il-sung - would take a new southern trajectory instead of a previous route east over Japan.

US President Barack Obama has visited the Demilitarised Zone (DMZ) separating the two Koreas, amid rising tensions over the North's planned rocket launch.

At an observation post on the volatile border, he told US troops they were "at freedom's frontier".

The US has voiced concern that the rocket launch due in April is a pretext for a missile test. Pyongyang says it wants to put a satellite into orbit.

On Monday, Mr Obama will attend a nuclear security summit in Seoul.

The two-day conference in the South Korean capital will be attended by leaders from more than 50 nations.

Its main focus will be preventing criminal or militant groups from acquiring nuclear weapons.

Pyongyang's nuclear programme is not officially on the agenda and North Korea is not taking part in the summit.

But American officials have made it clear that Mr Obama will be discussing the programmes of both North Korea and Iran in bilateral meetings with the Chinese and Russian presidents, the BBC's Lucy Williamson in Seoul reports.

The DMZ, a 4km (2.5-mile) wide strip of heavily mined land, has bisected the peninsula since the end of the Korean War in 1953. It is considered one of the world's most heavily-guarded border areas.

Making his first visit to the DMZ, Mr Obama told US troops serving at Camp Bonifas: "I could not be prouder of what you're doing... You guys are at freedom's frontier."

The president said the contrast between the two sides of the border "could not be starker" and paid tribute to the military personnel who had been "willing to create the space and the opportunity for freedom and prosperity".

Mr Obama then spent about 10 minutes at an observation post, looking towards North Korea through binoculars from behind bullet-proof glass.

'In bad faith'

Earlier this week, Japan said it was readying its anti-missile defences ahead of North Korea's launch, expected between 12 and 16 April.

Pyongyang says the long-range rocket - which would mark the 100th birthday of its late Great Leader Kim Il-sung - would take a new southern trajectory instead of a previous route east over Japan.