U.S. President Barack Obama says North Korea should end what he called its belligerence. The president also says the United States will take all necessary steps to protect itself and its allies.
After meeting with United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon in the Oval Office Thursday, President Obama said North Korean leaders should stop threatening nuclear attacks.
“Now is the time for North Korea to end the kind of belligerent approach that they have been taking, and to try to lower temperatures. Nobody wants to see a conflict on the Korean Peninsula," said President Obama.
Obama indicated the door is open to a diplomatic solution, but he warned that the United States will protect itself against North Korean military action.
“We will continue to try to work to resolve some of those issues diplomatically, even as I indicated to the secretary-general that the United States will take all necessary steps to protect its people and to meet our obligations under our alliances in the region," said Obama.
The secretary-general, who is from South Korea, also cautioned authorities in Pyongyang against any additional threats.
“I urge the DPRK [North Korean] authorities to refrain from making any further provocative measures and rhetorics. This is not helpful," said Ban.
The president and Ban discussed the humanitarian condition in Syria, which Obama said has grown worse and has reached a critical juncture.
Ban called the violence in Syria, now in its third year, “the most troubling situation.” He urged the president to continue his work with U.N. partners to improve it.
“I have asked President Obama to demonstrate and exercise his strong leadership in working together with the key partners of the Security Council," he said.
The U.N. chief also expressed disappointment that the Syrian government is resisting a chemical weapons investigation.
Obama said a “window of opportunity” exists in the Israeli-Palestinian peace process, and he said he will work with the U.N. to try to move it forward. Ban said he hopes the two-state solution can be successfully implemented as soon as possible.
On climate change, the U.N. leader said he is working with member states. He said he intends to convene a leaders’ meeting “sometime next year” and has invited President Obama.