After visiting the Demilitarized Zone –- a 3 mile buffer separating North and South Korea -- U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton commented on how these 2 countries are worlds apart. "The Republic of Korea," she said, "has made extraordinary progress. It has leaders who care about the well-being of the people. It has an economy that is growing and creating jobs and opportunities. It has a commitment to common values, democracy and freedom."
"By contrast," said Secretary Clinton, "the North has not only stagnated in isolation, but the people of the North have suffered for so many years." It is the men and women in the Republic of Korea, the United States of America, and a multinational force who today stand watch for freedom and who helped protect South Korea.
U.S. Defense Secretary Robert Gates said, "Our commitment to South Korean security is steadfast. In fact, our military alliance has never been stronger and should deter any potential aggression."
In a move that makes clear to North Korea that its provocative behavior towards South Korea is unacceptable, Secretary Clinton announced new sanctions against DPRK proliferation and illicit activities. These measures will target the sale or purchase of arms and related materiel, the acquisition of luxury items, which are banned under UN Security Council Resolution 1718, and other illicit activities conducted by the DPRK that could be used to help fund its weapons programs, such as counterfeiting of U.S. currency, cigarette counterfeiting, and money laundering. The United States will also act under existing authorities to freeze additional assets of DPRK proliferations-related entities, work to prevent more DPRK proliferators from traveling abroad, and urge banks to prevent financial transactions of designated North Korea entities as required under UN Security Council Resolution 1874.
These measures are not directed at the people of North Korea, who have suffered too long. They are directed at the DPRK's destabilizing, illicit, and provocative actions. "At the same time," said Secretary of State Clinton, "we continue to send a message to the North. There is another way. There is a way that can benefit the people of the North." If and when North Korea abides by its international obligations, the need for sanctions will be eliminated.