Today, Secretary Clinton met with Japanese Foreign Minister Seiji Maehara and South Korean Foreign Minister Kim Sung-hwan in Washington. Following the Trilateral Ministerial, the Secretary said:
"I am delighted to have both Minister Maehara of Japan and Minister Kim of the Republic of Korea here for these consultations and this historic trilateral meeting that underscores the strength of our shared commitment to advancing regional peace, prosperity, and stability. These discussions illustrate the importance of the deep bilateral relationships that the United States has with Japan and South Korea, as well as the value of the partnership between Japan and South Korea. Such strong relationships are the foundation for the unified position that our countries are taking with respect to North Korea.
"We all agree that North Korea's provocative and belligerent behavior jeopardizes peace and stability in Asia. We are deeply concerned by its unprovoked attack on the island of Yeonpyeong, resulting in the loss of South Korean lives. On behalf of the American people, I would like to convey our sympathies to the victims and their families. Our thoughts and prayers are with you. We want the people of South Korea to know that we are standing shoulder-to-shoulder with you, and we are deeply committed to your defense.
"The minister and I share the view that the attack by the North Koreans violates the Armistice Agreement of 1953; that North Korea's provocative and belligerent behavior threatens us all, and that it will be met with solidarity from all three countries.
"The attack is the latest in a series of North Korean provocations. It has disclosed a uranium enrichment program that violates UN Security Council Resolutions 1718 and 1874, as well as North Korea's commitments under the September 2005 Joint Statement of the Six-Party Talks. And the sinking of the Cheonan, killing 46 South Korean sailors, deepened North Korea's international isolation.
"From day one of the Obama Administration, we have made clear that North Korea needs to change. The international community has repeatedly presented North Korean leadership with a path toward greater engagement and integration, but thus far they have chosen the path of confrontation and isolation. The path to a better relationship and a secure and prosperous future is still open to North Korea if it makes the right choices. We remain committed to seeking opportunities for dialogue. But we will not reward North Korea for shattering the peace or defying the international community.
"This trilateral meeting reaffirmed the steps that North Korea must take in order for a resumption of Six-Party Talks to produce results. North Korea must improve relations with the Republic of Korea and cease its provocative behavior. North Korea must also comply with its international obligations and take concrete steps to implement its denuclearization commitments under the September 2005 Joint Statement.
"As part of our comprehensive strategy going forward, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Admiral Mullen will lead a delegation to South Korea tonight to enhance coordination on strategic deterrence. He will then visit Tokyo. Next week, I will be sending a high-level team to Asia to follow up on today's meeting.
"The ministers and I are also in close consultation with China and Russia. I have emphasized to my Chinese colleagues that China, as a vital partner in maintaining regional stability, a country with unique and strong ties with North Korea, and chair of the Six-Party Talks, has a special role to play in helping to shape North Korea's behavior. We will continue to work closely with Beijing, Moscow, and the rest of the international community to fully implement UN Security Council Resolutions 1718 and 1874.
"Last night, President Obama spoke with Chinese President Hu. They reaffirmed the importance of a denuclearized Korean Peninsula. And we appreciate Beijing's initiative to propose an emergency Six-Party gathering. However, we first need an appropriate basis for the resumption of talks. Any effort, of course, must start with North Korea ceasing all provocative and belligerent behavior.
"The U.S. treaty alliances with Japan and the Republic of Korea have been the foundation for peace and stability in Asia for decades, and the Japan-South Korea partnership helps form a triangle of stability and cooperation. The ministers and I reaffirmed our steadfast commitments under our respective defense treaties. In addition, on Friday, the Republic of Korea and the United States, completed negotiations on a landmark Korea-U.S. Free Trade Agreement that will further strengthen the bonds between our two countries.
"These strong bilateral relationships are now enhancing our trilateral cooperation, as well as all of our countries' relationships with China. The United States is encouraged by steps that China, Japan, and the Republic of Korea have taken to deepen their bilateral ties, because we believe that strong relationships among all four countries are an essential element of peace and stability in Asia.
"The ministers and I also released a joint trilateral statement that provides a framework to enhance regional cooperation and collaboration. It articulates key principles for expanding trilateral cooperation not only on the Korean Peninsula, but in the Lower Mekong, supporting Middle East -- the Middle East peace process, enforcing UN sanctions to counter Iran's nuclear ambitions. And most importantly, we are in agreement to continue working closely together and to hold additional regular trilateral interactions. There is a lot at stake and we are committed to working through all the challenges that we face together"
You can read the full transcript of the Secretary's remarks with the Foreign Ministers here.