The Internet will be more effective than economic sanctions or the U.S. military in toppling North Korea’s totalitarian regime, President Obama said Thursday.
“There aren’t that many sanctions left,” Mr. Obama said in an interview on YouTube from the White House. “We will keep on ratcheting the pressure, but part of what’s happening is … the Internet over time is going to be penetrating this country. Over time you will see a regime like this collapse.”
The U.S. says North Korea is responsible for the hacking last year of Sony Pictures, and there are reports that the U.S. has retaliated by shutting down North Korea’s limited Internet system for brief periods.
Mr. Obama didn’t address retaliatory hacking specifically but said, “it’s very hard to sustain that kind of brutal authoritarian regime in this modern world. Information ends up seeping in over time and bringing about change. That’s something that we are constantly looking for ways to accelerate.”
He called North Korea “the most isolated, the most sanctioned, the most cut-off nation on Earth.”
But Mr. Obama said the U.S. is limited in what it can do militarily against Pyongyang, partly because neighboring South Korea would be vulnerable in a war.
“Our capacity to effect change in North Korea is somewhat limited because you’ve got a 1-million person army, and they have nuclear technologies and missiles,” Mr. Obama said. “The answer’s not going to be a military solution.”