Firm Support of the Defense of South Korea (AP Soundbite)

Press Availability
Hillary Rodham Clinton
Secretary of State
Press Availability During ASEAN Ministerial
Hanoi, Vietnam
July 23, 2010

It is distressing when North Korea continues its threats and causes so much anxiety among its neighbors and the larger region but we will demonstrate once again through our military exercises as we did when Bob Gates and I visited in Seoul together two days ago that the United States stands in firm support of the defense of South Korea.

We regret and condemn the actions of North Korea, the belligerence, the provocation, the sinking of the South Korean ship Cheonan, the destabilizing effect that that has in North East Asia, the proliferation of both conventional arms and nuclear technical knowhow because we do consider it to be a very serious problem not only in North East Asia but unfortunately consequences throughout the rest of the world.

The door remains open for North Korea, if they are willing to commit themselves as they did five years ago in 2005, to the irreversible denuclearization that would make the entire Korean peninsula, not just the South but the North as well, free of nuclear weapons, we are willing to meet with them, we are willing to negotiate, to move toward normal relations, economic assistance, we want to help the people of North Korea.