President Barack Obama on Tuesday urged Trump to act decisively against North Korea, warning that a military attack on the isolated nation would have catastrophic consequences.
In his first speech since Trump took office, Obama urged the president-elect to act in response to Kim Jong Un’s continued provocations, telling reporters that he was “deeply concerned” by North Korea’s growing ability to conduct nuclear and missile tests and to threaten U.S. allies in the region.
“The only way to stop North Korea is to stop the Kim regime,” Obama said.
“If we fail to do so, North Korea will continue to threaten us, and the United States will be at risk of nuclear war.”
“And this will only increase the risk of a catastrophic war between the United Kingdom and the Republic of Korea, and between the Republic and the North Korean people,” he said.
“I want to reassure all Americans that this administration will act decisively if the situation calls for it,” he added.
Obama’s warning comes just days after Trump’s transition team announced that it would begin work on a policy that would impose additional sanctions on North Korea and other countries in a bid to force Kim to give up his nuclear weapons program.
The Trump administration is expected to announce a new policy at the White House on Wednesday, which would impose new sanctions on more than 80 countries, including North Korea.
But the U.N. Security Council has so far failed to adopt new sanctions and Trump has threatened to “totally destroy” North Korea should it continue to develop nuclear weapons.
In a tweet on Tuesday, Trump said, “China is working with Russia, China, North and South Korea and the other 5 nations to develop a plan to totally destroy North Korea.”
Trump also criticized the United Nations, saying, “I don’t think the UN should be involved.
The UN should have no role in the country.”
North Korea’s Foreign Ministry released a statement Tuesday saying Trump’s remarks were “not only dangerous, but also dangerous to the international peace and stability.”
“The statements of the U,S.
administration have clearly proved that the UN and other international organizations, who have repeatedly warned against the DPRK, have lost all credibility and the credibility of the international community,” the statement said.
The statement said that North Korea had been pursuing its nuclear weapons programs with the aim of establishing a nuclear weapons capability and making a “nuclear warhead that can reach anywhere in the world.”
The statement also noted that the U.,S.
and the South Korean government had jointly imposed sanctions on six Chinese companies involved in North Korea activities.
Trump has long said he would pursue a more aggressive stance against Pyongyang, but has not been willing to commit to a long-term, unconditional nuclear freeze or other drastic measures.
He has also said he has not ruled out using military force against the North, though he has been reluctant to take such a step.