Obama: Time for North Korea to end its ‘belligerent approach’

President Obama said Thursday that it’s time for North Korea to end its belligerence, which has ratcheted up tensions on the Korean Peninsula.

Speaking in the Oval Office after meeting United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki-moon, Obama said that no one wanted to see conflict break out.

“We both agreed that now’s the time for North Korea to end the kind of belligerent approach that they’ve been taking,” Obama said. “And to try to lower temperatures. Nobody wants to see a conflict on the Korean Peninsula.”

Obama said it was important for Pyongyang to observe U.N. resolutions, and pledged to continue working to get those issues resolved diplomatically.

But he also told the secretary general that his administration would take “all necessary steps” to protect the United States and its allies.

In recent weeks, North Korea has repeatedly threatened both South Korea and the United States with a nuclear attack, while the U.S. military has made a show of force with stealth B-2 bombers and F-22 fighters.

North Korea is expected to test launch a medium-range missile that potentially has the range to reach all of Japan or Guam sometime this week.

U.S. defense officials have said that they have the capability to shoot down any missile that threatens U.S. or allied territories.

Obama said that he and Ban also discussed the conflict in Syria, which Obama said has reached “a critical juncture.”