Clinton Condemns 'Provocative' North Korean Activities, Rhetoric
By Donna Miles
American Forces Press Service
WASHINGTON, May 27, 2009 – Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton today reiterated U.S. commitment to South Korea’s and Japan’s security in light of what she called North Korea’s “provocative and belligerent” activities and rhetoric.
“The United States has and intends always to honor … the defense of South Korea and Japan,” she said. “That is part of our alliance obligation, which we take very seriously.”
While not discussing details of North Korea’s nuclear and missile tests conducted this week in violation of a United Nations resolution, Clinton noted that the international community is coming together to condemn them.
"North Korea has made a choice,” she said. “It has chosen to violate the specific language of U.N. Security Council Resolution 1718. It has ignored the international community. It has abrogated the obligations it entered into through the Six-Party Talks. And it continues to act in a provocative and belligerent manner toward its neighbors.
“There are consequences to such actions,” Clinton said, noting that the U.N. is weighing possible options.
“I'm very pleased that we have a unified international community, including China and Russia, in setting forth a very specific condemnation of North Korea and then working with us for a firm resolution going forward,” she said.
Whatever response is adopted, Clinton said, it will be imposed “with the intent to try to rein in the North Koreans and get them back into a framework where they are once again fulfilling their obligations and moving toward denuclearization of the Korean peninsula.”
The secretary of state reiterated hope that North Korea will return to the stalled process aimed at a nuclear-free Korean peninsula. Working with North Korea toward denuclearization, “will benefit, we believe, the people of North Korea, the region and the world,” she said.
Meanwhile, White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs noted that North Korea’s actions are further isolating it from the international community. Gibbs did not specifically discuss North Korea’s reported threats against South Korean ships supporting the Proliferation Security Initiative, or North Korean allegations that in joining the PSI, South Korea had nullified the armistice agreement that’s been in effect since 1953. South Korea yesterday joined the 90 countries working together through the PSI to stem the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction.
“We are certainly concerned and take any threat seriously,” Gibbs told White House reporters today. “But my sense is that they are trying to get renewed attention through saber-rattling and blustering and threats.”
These threats won’t get North Korea the attention it wants, he said. “Their actions are continuing to further deepen their own isolation from the international community and from the rights and obligations that they themselves have agreed to live up to.”
Based on what he acknowledged to be a “rough count,” Gibbs called the latest threat “the fifth time in 15 years that they have sought to nullify the armistice governing the Korean war.”
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