The 40-minute talk took place at the Asian Leadership Conference in Seoul, and comes days after Moon met with current US President Donald Trump, who openly criticized Obama’s policy of "strategic patience" with the North, saying that a "determined response" to Pyongyang was necessary as Obama’s approach had "failed."
This was Obama’s first trip to South Korea after leaving office, and he arrived Sunday with his wife Michelle and their two daughters Malia and Sasha. The 44th US president also met with former South Korean President Lee Myung-bak at the conference earlier Monday, saying he was “catching up with my old friend."
Moon’s press secretary Yoon Young-chan quoted the country’s new liberal president saying, "President Trump and I agreed to continue to apply sanctions and pressure to resolve the North’s nuclear and missile issues, while pursuing dialogue in parallel."
He added, "Obama said that as many South Koreans hope for his success, Moon would no doubt meet the people’s expectations, quoting former President Abraham Lincoln whom he said he respects the most that with the people’s support you can do anything," the Korean Herald reported.
Countering Trump’s narrative of failure, Obama pointed out how he closed loopholes, intensified sanctions and strengthened ties with China to combat North Korea’s behavior, stressing the importance of avoiding “leaks” that could help Pyongyang receive funds.
"We should be under no illusions that there is some silver bullet and solve this problem right away," Obama said. "But I do think that a good dialogue has opened up between the US and China around this issue, and my hope is that the current administration is continuing that. I think it is also important for us to maintain the kinds of strong application of sanctions."
Obama also criticized Trump’s withdrawal from the Paris climate accord and the stridency of his "America First" policies, saying "the future does not favor the strongman. I believe deeply that the liberal international order; order based not just on military power or national affiliations, but on principles — the rule of law, human rights and individual freedoms — is the only choice."
Moon has extended olive branches to the North, offering to supply Malaria medication and proposing a co-sponsorship of the Winter Olympics, but both gestures have been rejected by Pyongyang.
Moon’s office has said that Pyongyang has “one last chance” to deal diplomatically with other nations before it becomes completely isolated.