The United States and South Korea remain staunch allies. For sixty years, both countries have stood guard, vigilant in the cause of peace and stability on the Korean Peninsula, said U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton. "For the United States, the security and sovereignty of South Korea is a solemn responsibility and a rock solid commitment. Our alliance is a source of strength and confidence, confidence that our two peoples will continue to enjoy security, prosperity, and shared progress in the days and years ahead."
The U.S.-South Korean relationship extends beyond security guarantees. The U.S. has supported South Korea as it has embraced democracy and undergone a historic economic transformation. Today, South Korea is a major economic trading partner of the United States, and Korean Americans have contributed significantly to the economic, social, and cultural life of the United States.
As a friend and ally, the United States supports South Korea as it seeks U.N. Security Council action in the aftermath of the sinking of the South Korean naval vessel the Cheonan by North Korea. The U.S. offers its deepest sympathies to the families and friends of the forty-six sailors killed. "This was an unacceptable provocation by North Korea," said Secretary Clinton. "And the international community has a responsibility and a duty to respond."
"The U.S. and South Korean militaries have announced plans for joint exercises, and we will explore further enhancements to our posture on the Peninsula," said Secretary Clinton, "to ensure readiness, and to deter future attacks."
The United States calls on North Korea to halt its provocation and its policy of threats and belligerence toward its neighbors, and take steps now to fulfill its denuclearization commitments, and comply with international law.
"North Korea," said Secretary Clinton, "can still choose another path. Instead of isolation, poverty, conflict, and condemnation, North Korea could enjoy integration, prosperity, peace, and respect. Its people could finally experience a better life. . . .North Korea's future," said Secretary Clinton, "depends on the choices that its leaders make today." In the meantime, the U.S. remains resolute in its defense of South Korea.