Obama: North Korea’s isolation ‘makes them less subject’ To Nuclear Negotiations

Former President Barack Obama has warned that North Korea is a “real threat” and its isolation from other countries makes it less susceptible to negotiations over its nuclear weapons. 

“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, during an appearance at an event in Japan, according to the Associated Press.

In contrast, he spoke about the multilateral sanctions that helped pressure Iran into restricting its nuclear program, telling the audience, “Eventually Iran said to itself, ‘You know, we will be better off if we’re able to trade, engage in commerce…’ and so there was a way of getting leverage on Iran.” 

RELATED: Countdown to a standoff: A timeline of tension with North Korea

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Countdown to a standoff: A timeline of tension with North Korea
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Countdown to a standoff: A timeline of tension with North Korea

Jan. 6, 2016:

After four years in power, Kim Jong Un says his country can produce a hydrogen bomb, the first step toward a nuclear weapon that could target the United States. The nation tests a device, but Western experts are not convinced it is a genuine hydrogen bomb.

Feb. 7, 2016:

North Korea sends up a satellite. The United States calls this a disguised test of an engine powerful enough to launch an ICBM.

March 9, 2016:

North Korea claims it can miniaturize a nuclear device to fit onto a missile.

June 23, 2016:

North Korea says it has successfully tested an intermediate range ballistic missile (IRBM), with a range of 2,000 to 3,400 miles. Kim Jong Un claims the country can now attack "Americans in the Pacific operation theater," including the territory of Guam.

Sept. 9, 2016:

North Korea conducts its fifth and largest nuclear test on the anniversary of the country's founding. It says it has mastered the ability to mount a warhead on a ballistic missile.

April 15, 2017:

North Korea reveals a new ICBM design, displaying the missiles at a military parade to mark the birthday of founding leader Kim Il Sung. Within three months, the missiles are tested.

July 4, 2017:

North Korea tests an ICBM for the first time, saying it can launch a missile that can reach the continental United States. The missile, Hwasong-14, is tested again three weeks later, this time in a night launch.

Aug. 8, 2017:

North Korea's army threatens to fire missiles towards Guam in an "enveloping fire." The message comes hours after President Donald Trump warns Pyongyang that it will be "met with fire and fury" if North Korea does not stop threatening the United States.

Aug. 23, 2017:

North Korea publishes photographs of Kim beside a diagram of what appears to be a new ICBM. Weapons experts say it will be more powerful than the missiles tested by Pyongyang in July, and could have Washington and New York within range.

Aug 29, 2017:

North Korea fires an intermediate range missile over northern Japan, prompting warnings to residents to take cover. The missile falls into the Pacific Ocean, but sharply raises tensions in the region.

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“Unfortunately, in the case of North Korea, they have so little commerce, they have so little trade with other countries, they travel so little, that it’s so restrictive, that, in some ways, sometimes that makes them less subject to these kinds of negotiations,” Obama added.  

However, he said, “we have to continue to try. Because although, if, at the end of the day, North Korea actually mounted aggression and attacked another country, we would be in a position to defend ourselves and the alliance. The cost in terms of human life would be significant and that’s something that we should always avoid whenever possible.” 

Obama’s comments come less than a month after President Trump agreed to meet with the regime’s leader to discuss its nuclear program.

“Kim Jong Un talked about denuclearization with the South Korean Representatives, not just a freeze. Also, no missile testing by North Korea during this period of time. Great progress being made but sanctions will remain until an agreement is reached. Meeting being planned!” Trump tweeted at the time.

He also wrote, “The deal with North Korea is very much in the making and will be, if completed, a very good one for the World. Time and place to be determined.” 

According to the White House, many details of Trump’s potential meeting with Kim Jong Un are still being worked out. 

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