The relationship between North Korea and South Korea continues to worsen, following the sinking of the Chenoan, a South Korean gunboat.
Earlier today, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton traveled to Seoul, to met with Yu Myung-hwan, the foreign minister of South Korea, and Lee Myung-bak, the country's president, concluding a week-long trip to the region.
According to Yu, he and Clinton "reaffirmed the Korea-U.S. alliance is a cornerstone of peace and stability on the Korean Peninsula and in northeast Asia."
And building on common values and mutual trust, our countries are developing an alliance relationship that now stands stronger and better than ever. And, furthermore, we had extensive discussions on ways to respond to the Cheonan incident, based on this robust alliance.
An international investigation concluded that North Korea torpedoed the Chenoan, killing 46 sailors.
"The international independent investigation was objective," Clinton said. "The evidence overwhelming. The conclusion inescapable. This was an unacceptable provocation by North Korea, and the international community has a responsibility and a duty to respond."
During a press availability, Clinton reiterated the Obama administration's position on North Korea:
There is the immediate crisis caused by the sinking of the naval vessel, which requires as strong but measured response, but there is the longer-term challenge of changing the direction of North Korea, making a convincing case to everyone in the region to work together to achieve that outcome, de-nuclearizing the Korean peninsula, and offering the opportunities for a better life for the people of the North.