After cutting deals with Cuba and Iran, President Barack Obama is talking up the idea of cutting a deal with North Korea.
On Friday, Obama offered up an Iran-style deal to eliminate Pyongyang’s nuclear weapons in return for sanctions relief. “We’ll be right there at the table,” Obama said, provided that North Korea shows a willingness to give up its nuclear weapons.
Obama spoke at a joint press conference with South Korean President Park Geun-hye in the East Room of the White House, and they issued a joint statement offering an olive branch to North Korea.
While Obama decried North Korea’s “horrific treatment" of its own people, he noted his deals with Cuba and Iran and suggested he is prepared to talk to and reach accommodations with countries, even if it doesn’t resolve every outstanding issue.
"We will continue to insist that Pyongyang must abide by its obligations on the complete and verifiable denuclearization of the peninsula in a peaceful manner, and given the horrific treatment of the North Korean people by their government, our two nations will continue to expose abuses and call for accountability for human rights violations," Obama said.
"At the same time, we do support President Park's efforts to improve relations between South and North Korea. As my administration has shown with Iran and with Cuba, we are also prepared to engage nations with which we have had troubled histories, but Pyongyang needs to understand it will not achieve the economic development it seeks so long as it clings to nuclear weapons."
Obama said a deal with North Korea would have to include the same type of intrusive inspections as are called for in the Iran deal.
There's one catch in getting a deal with North Korea, however: So far, the nation hasn't shown an interest in giving up its nuclear weapons.
Obama, meanwhile, seemed to minimize Iran's ballistic missile tests. He said violations of United Nations resolutions should have international consequences, but he continued to defend the nuclear deal, saying any of the things that Iran engages in would be worse if they were still pursuing a nuclear weapon.
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