U.S., South Korea Renew for North to Abandon Nuclear Weapons

The United States and the Republic of Korea “stand very firmly united” in opposing North Korea’s destabilizing nuclear and ballistic missile programs and proliferation activities, says U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry.

“We will not accept North Korea as a nuclear state, nor as a nuclear-armed state, nor will the international community abide by that,” Kerry said at a January 7 press briefing with South Korean Foreign Minister Yun Byung-se.

The United States supports the “principled approach” that President Park Geun-hye is taking toward North Korea, Kerry said, and remains “fully committed to the defense of the Republic of Korea, including through extended deterrence and putting the full range of U.S. military capabilities in place.”

The 60-year-old alliance between the United States and the Republic of Korea, Kerry added, is grounded in shared values of democracy, human rights and the rule of law, and it is strengthened through people-to-people ties.

“The relationship between our two nations has always shown its ability to be able to adapt, to face new challenges,” Kerry said. “And it is clear that the foundations of this relationship are built to endure.”

Foreign Minister Yun is on a three-day visit to Washington. On January 6, he met with U.S. Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel.

In his remarks with Kerry, Yun said he and Kerry “agreed to strengthen our strategic cooperation on building sustainable peace that will pave the way for the unification of the Korean Peninsula.” Both countries, joined by the international community, will redouble efforts to engage the North in a trust-building process, Yun said.

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