WASHINGTON, June 15 (UPI) -- North Korea must put the welfare of its people before its nuclear ambitions if it hopes to end its international isolation, a U.S. official said.
In a statement, both sides said they were committed to addressing challenges posed by the "uncertain and evolving strategic environment" in the region.
North Korea this year agreed to halt long-range missile and nuclear tests in exchange for food assistance from the United States. The deal collapsed, however, when North Korea tried to launch a satellite into orbit in April.
The launch sparked concerns that North Korea was preparing to test a nuclear device. Launches in 2006 and 2009 coincided with nuclear tests from North Korea.
South Korean Defense Minister Kim Kwan-jin said "a very decisive response" would greet any provocation from North Korea. Dialogue and cooperation, however, remains on the table.
Clinton called on North Korea to abandon its nuclear weapons and related programs and put the welfare of its people first.
"Only under these circumstances will North Korea be able to end its isolation from the international community and alleviate the suffering of its people," she said.
A coalition of 40 human rights organizations and activists in April submitted a petition to the U.N. Human Rights Council calling for action to shut down the country's forced labor system.
|Additional Special Reports Stories|