Former US President Barack Obama, who is on a visit to Japan, has called North Korea “a real threat,” suggesting that the US has little leverage over the resolute nation.
“North Korea is an example of a country that is so far out of the international norms and so disconnected with the rest of the world,” Obama said in Tokyo on Sunday. “That makes them less subject to these kinds of negotiations.”
He made the comments at an event sponsored by a Japanese nonprofit group during an Asia-Pacific trip that included earlier stops in Singapore, New Zealand and Australia.
“North Korea is a real threat,” said the former president. “Our view has always been that we would prefer to resolve these issues peacefully,” otherwise, “the cost in terms of human life would be significant.”
This is while Obama’s predecessor, US President Donald Trump, has been trying to negotiate with North Korea in an effort to denuclearize the country.
Amid escalating tensions between Washington and Pyongyang, Trump recently, made an unexpected decision to meet with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un.
A potential summit between the two may take place by the end of May.
Pyongyang has made no public announcement about a summit with Trump, but it said through the state-run KCNA news agency that North Korea’s engagement in the diplomatic process with the South and the US is a sign of its strength, dismissing speculation that the tough sanctions imposed on the country over its military program has pushed it to the negotiating table.
Tensions escalated between the two countries after Trump warned to “totally destroy” North Korea during a speech to the UN General Assembly.
Pyongyang has time and again asserted that it will not threaten or use its nuclear deterrence unless it comes under attack.