On May 21, Secretary Clinton made her first stop of her Asia trip in Japan. At the Ikura Guesthouse in Tokyo, Secretary Clinton participated in a joint press availability with Japanese Foreign Minister Okada.
Secretary Clinton paid tribute to the U.S.-Japan alliance. She said, "Japan was the first nation I visited as Secretary of State, because we recognize that this relationship continues to be a cornerstone of security, stability, and progress in a region that is so crucial to the future of our entire world. This year, as the United States and Japan mark the 50th anniversary of our alliance, we can be very proud of all we have accomplished together; the peace we have kept, the prosperity we have built, and the bonds we have forged. This partnership is essential for meeting the challenges not only of today, but also of tomorrow. And it is a rock solid foundation for our shared future."
The Secretary also commented on the sinking of the South Korean ship. She said, "The evidence is overwhelming and condemning. The torpedo that sunk the Cheonan and took the lives of 46 South Korean sailors was fired by a North Korean submarine. And the United States strongly condemns this act of aggression. As Minister Okada and I discussed, we will be in deep and constant consultations, not only between the United States and Japan, but also with South Korea, China, and others to determine our response."
The Secretary continued, "We appreciate Japan's support of South Korea and this investigation, because we recognize the threat that North Korea's aggression poses is also to the people of Japan. Last year I met with families of the abducted, and expressed my personal sympathy and concern. The United States and Japan continue to work side by side to meet the challenges posed by North Korea. We agree that North Korea must stop its provocative behavior, halt its policy of threats and belligerence toward its neighbors, and take irreversible steps to fulfill its denuclearization commitments, and comply with international law. I will be discussing these issues with my counterparts in Beijing next week, and then I will travel to Seoul, to consult with our South Korean partners about the way forward. But let me be clear. This will not be and cannot be business as usual. There must be an international -- not just a regional, but an international -- response."Read the Secretary's full remarks here.