The comments come after Donald Trump suggested Japan and South Korea build nuclear weapons. Do you think Obama has a point or is Trump making more sense than Obama ever could?
President Barack Obama took a shot at Donald Trump on Friday, saying suggestions from people like the GOP frontrunner that South Korea and Japan should develop nuclear weapons show a lack of understanding of the world.
He said that they show a lack of knowledge about foreign policy, nuclear policy and the Korean Peninsula.
Obama was asked about the issue Friday night after Trump said Japan and South Korea should develop nuclear weapons as a deterrent to North Korea.
The president said the United States doesn’t want someone in the Oval Office who doesn’t recognize the potential trouble in such a development.
‘[The statements] tell us that the person who made the statements doesn’t know much about foreign policy, nuclear policy, the Korean peninsula or the world generally,’ Obama said at the press conference. ‘I said before, people pay attention to American elections.’
Obama noted that Trump’s comments came up during discussions with leaders at the nuclear summit in Washington.
He said that even countries that are used to a ‘carnival atmosphere’ in their politics want ‘sobriety and clarity’ in US elections.
Trump has made several remarks about nuclear weapons lately, even claiming he would not rule out using nuclear bombs in Europe.
Obama’s comments come just a day after White House Deputy National Security Adviser Ben Rhodes said that Trump’s proposal for Japan and South Korea to have nuclear weapons would be ‘catastrophic’ for US policy.
‘The entire premise of American foreign policy as it relates to nuclear weapons for the last 70 years has been focused on preventing the proliferation of nuclear weapons to additional states,’ Rhodes said on Thursday. ‘That’s been the position of bipartisan administrations, everybody who has occupied the Oval Office.’
Trump said at a CNN town hall on Tuesday that the United States ‘can’t afford’ to protect countries like Japan.
‘Frankly it would be catastrophic were the United States to shift its position and indicate that we support somehow the proliferation of nuclear weapons to additional countries,’ Rhodes said, according to ABC.
Obama discussed Trump’s proposal at a press conference on Friday at the conclusion of a nuclear security summit, where he met with more than 50 leaders to discuss nuclear security.
He also said at the press conference that the United States and Russia are unlikely to further reduce their stockpiles of nuclear weapons during the remainder of his presidency.
He did say, however, that he believes the two countries have put systems in place that will allow for more reductions in the future.
At the close of a nuclear security summit, Obama said that Russian President Vladimir Putin has emphasized ‘military might’ instead of disarmament, but Obama believes there are still possibilities for progress.
In the meantime, Obama said the world must guard against the proliferation of new, deadlier nuclear weapons.
The president is crediting the United States and Russia with abiding by a bilateral arms reduction treaty.