President Obama encouraged South Korean President Park Geun-hye on Friday to pursue a strong relationship with China during a joint White House appearance on Friday.
"Sometimes there's a perception that if President Park meets with President Xi that must cause a problem for us," Obama said. "Well... President Xi was in this room eating my food; and we were toasting and having a lengthy conversation," Obama said, referring to the state dinner held in Xi's honor last month.
"We want South Korea to have a strong relationship with China; just as we want to have a strong relationship with China," Obama continued. "We want to see China's peaceful rise. We want them to be cooperating with us in putting pressure on" North Korea.
"So there's no contradiction between the Republic of Korea having good relations with us, being a central part of our alliance and having good relations with China," Obama surmised before adding that China must also be encouraged to follow international rules.
"[T]he only thing we're going to continue to insist on is that we want China to abide by international norms and rules," he said. And where they fail to do so, we expect the Republic of Korea to speak out on that, just as we do."