President Obama said Friday the world should weigh additional sanctions against North Korea “that have even more bite” as Pyongyang appeared to be readying a new nuclear test.
At a joint news conference with South Korean President Park Geun-hye, Obama said the U.S. stood “shoulder to shoulder” with Seoul in the face of “provocations” from North Korea.
“Threats will get North Korea nothing other than greater isolation,” he added.
At the same time, the president conceded that the U.S. was “not going to find a magic bullet that solves this problem overnight.”
"We can't waver in our intention. We have to make sure that, in strong concert with our allies, that we are continuing to press North Korea to change its approach," he said.
Obama’s stop in Seoul — the second country of his four-nation, week-long trip — is taking place under the shadow of a fresh round of nuclear threats from the North Koreans.
Park said Seoul had determined that “North Korea is fully ready to carry out the fourth nuclear test” and described the situation as “very tense.”
“We’re not very certain what the timing will be, but we believe they’re fully ready now,” she said.
Park also said Obama told her he would reconsider a scheduled transfer of operational control of military troops in South Korea.
Washington had planned to hand over control of the troops to Seoul in December 2015, but the government there had requested more time to prepare amid provocations from North Korea. The U.S.-led United Nations troops in the region were given wartime operational control shortly after the outbreak of the Korean War.
"President Obama's visit to South Korea sends a strong message to North Korea that its provocative acts cannot be tolerated," Park said.