Seoul, South Korea (CNN) - President Obama will speak with key European leaders about the crisis in Ukraine Friday. But earlier in the day at a joint news conference with President Park Geun-hye of South Korea, Obama acknowledged the sanctions against Russia put in place by the U.S. and its allies may not ultimately change Vladimir Putin's calculus.
"I think that's self-apparent," Obama said when asked if the Russian president may simply remain unresponsive to the economic pressure.
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Here are four other take-aways from the news conference in Seoul.
Obama gets personal on South Korea ferry tragedy
Reflecting on the ferry disaster in South Korea that is likely to claim hundreds of lives, including dozens of young victims who attended a school outside Seoul, Obama addressed the accident as both a president and a parent.
"I'm a father of two daughters of the same age or close to the same age as those who are lost, and so, I can only imagine what the parents are going through at this point," Obama said at the news conference.
As a gesture of condolences from the U.S., the President offered the South Korean leader a magnolia tree from the grounds of the White House and an American flag. The flag was flying over the White House on the day of the ferry tragedy.
Getting tough on North Korea
While the President was less than confident sanctions are having an effect on Putin, Obama did raise the idea of tightening the economic penalties on North Korea over its recent threats of conducting another nuclear test.
Obama said it may be time for sanctions that "have even more bite."
"We don't want to go through a constant cycle in which proactive actions by North Korea result in dialogue that leads nowhere and concessions to the North Koreans," Obama added.
May be time for a time-out in Middle East peace talks
In response to Israel's decision to suspend its peace talks with the Palestinians, Obama said both sides may simply need to take a pause in their discussions until they are ready to make major political concessions to achieve a lasting peace.
"This is a problem that's been going on for 60, 70, 80 years," Obama added. "We didn't anticipate we were going to solve it in the course of a 6 or 9 month negotiation," he said about his administration's efforts to reach a framework agreement with the Israelis and Palestinians.
The President also defended his secretary of state's numerous attempts to work out a settlement, saying "I make no apologies for supporting Secretary of State Kerry's efforts, tireless efforts, despite long odds, to keep on trying to bring the parties together."
South Korean "comfort women" deserve respect
The President also weighed in on one of Asia's most bitter memories, Japan's abuse of South Korean "comfort women" during World War Two.
Urging both South Korea and Japan to move forward after decades of animosity over the issue, Obama called for a clear historical account of what happened to the women who were once used as sex slaves by the Japanese military, a practice the president called "shocking" even in a time of war.