U.S. and South Korea issue joint statement on North Korea

The United States and the Republic of Korea issued a joint statement on Saturday about North Korea, a day after diplomats from both countries held a press conference in Seoul.

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry and Foreign Minister of the Republic of Korea spoke in Seoul on Friday before members of the press and discussed recent threats made by North Korea. The joint statement issued on Saturday re-affirmed U.S. support for North Korea's neighbor.

"The 60-year alliance between the United States and the Republic of Korea is crucial for security and stability in the Asia-Pacific region," the statement said. "The United States reaffirms its commitment to the defense of the Republic of Korea in the wake of recent unacceptable provocations by North Korea. Both sides agree on the importance of the denuclearization of North Korea, knowing that North Korea's dangerous nuclear and missile programs threaten not only its neighbors, but also its own people."

The statement said the U.S. will stand by the Republic of Korea's side and will defend its ally and itself if necessary.

"Both of our countries are taking prudent measures - both military and diplomatic - to enhance our security," the statement said. "At the same time, the two countries remain committed to the goal of peaceful denuclearization. In this context, the United States welcomes the trust-building process on the Korean Peninsula proposed by President Park Geun-hye."

The U.S. and the Republic of Korea said they will continue to encourage North Korea to make the right choice by abiding by its international obligations.

"We will continue working with all six-party partners and the international community to make clear that North Korea must adhere to its international obligations and commitments or face further isolation," the statement said. "We will continue to encourage North Korea to make the right choice. If North Korea does so, we are prepared to implement the commitments under the 2005 six-party joint statement. But Pyongyang must prove its seriousness by taking meaningful steps to abide by its international obligations."