U.S. President Barack Obama said he is pushing for “a world without nuclear weapons” and made direct appeals on the issue to North Korea and Iran.
Obama made the comments during a speech at Hankuk University in Seoul, South Korea, ahead of a summit aimed at reducing the risk of nuclear terrorism.
The BBC quoted Obama as having emphasized the U.S.'s unique position to seek change, but saying “serious sustained global effort” was needed.
He reiterated the commitment of the United States as “the only nation to have ever used nuclear weapons” to reducing its nuclear arms stockpile, the report said.
Obama addressed North Korea's nuclear ambitions in his speech, saying that the U.S. has “no hostile intent” towards the country but adding that “there will be no rewards for provocation.”
He warned Pyongyang that its planned long-range missile launch would only increase its isolation.
“You can continue with the road you are on but we know where that leads,” the BBC quoted Obama as having said, addressing the North Korean leaders directly. “Today, we say, Pyongyang, have the courage to pursue peace.”
Obama also addressed the Iranian nuclear threat and said once again there was still time to resolve the impasse over its nuclear program through diplomacy.
“But time is short,” Obama warned, adding, “'Iran must act with the seriousness and sense of urgency that this moment demands.”
He said, “Today, I'll meet with the leaders of Russia and China as we work to achieve a resolution in which Iran fulfills its obligations.”
The remarks on Iran echo Obama’s earlier comments, in which he said that a “window is closing” on Iran but there still is time for diplomacy.
He did not set a deadline, but it would likely be after the presidential elections in November.
Speaking to reporters in Seoul, Obama said, “I believe there is a window of time to solve this diplomatically, but that window is closing.”