His patience tested, President Barack Obama on Saturday promised a new and stronger response to defiant North Korea, saying that while he prefers diplomacy he is now taking a "very hard look" at tougher measures. A Pentagon official said no military moves were planned.
Obama's blunt language seemed to point toward nonmilitary penalties such as financial sanctions against North Korea, either within the United Nations or by Washington alone. US allies in Asia may consider new moves to improve their own military defenses.
"We are not intending to continue a policy of rewarding provocation," he said, alluding to recent North Korea nuclear and missile tests.