President Obama said Friday that North Korea could learn a lesson from his administration’s nuclear deal with Iran that is easing economic sanctions in exchange for limiting Tehran’s nuclear program.
“At the point where Pyongyang says we’re interested in seeing relief from sanctions and improved relations and we’re prepared to have a serious conversation” about denuclearization, Mr. Obama said, “it’s fair to say we’ll be right there at the table.”
But he cautioned that North Korea’s communist regime has shown no signs of a willingness to give up its nuclear arsenal.
Mr. Obama spoke at a joint press conference at the White House with South Korean President Park Geun-hye, who agreed that North Korea needs to show a willingness to relinquish its weapons for talks to succeed.
“You need to have this genuine willingness on the part of North Korea that they will give up nuclear capabilities,” she said through a translator. “You can lead a horse to water but you can’t make it drink.”
The two presidents issued a joint statement on North Korea pledging their commitment “to countering the threat to peace and security posed by North Korea’s nuclear and ballistic missile programs as well as other provocations.”
“We will maintain our robust deterrence posture and continue to modernize our alliance and enhance our close collaboration to better respond to all forms of North Korean provocations,” their statement said. “The United States and the Republic of Korea share deep concern about the continued advancement of North Korea’s UN-proscribed nuclear and missile capabilities and commit to address the North Korean nuclear problem with utmost urgency and determination.”