Sen. Menendez speaks on North Korea in Seoul

North Korea's continued pursuit of nuclear weapons will not drive a wedge between the U.S. and South Korea, U.S. Senator Robert Menendez (D-N.J.) said on Monday.

Menendez, the chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, made the remarks on Monday during a speech about economic statecraft and the new American internationalism at the Asan Institute in Seoul, South Korea. Menendez said Pyongyang's provocations will not result in rewards for the people of North Korea.

"So long as Pyongyang continues to engage in provocations they must understand that there will be no rewards," Menendez said. "The continued pursuit of nuclear weapons and advanced ballistic missiles will not produce security for the North, and will not drive a wedge the United States and the Republic of Korea. Nothing will impede our joint vision for the United States and Korea deeper economic partnership, deeper security cooperation, and deeper cooperation on such issues as energy cooperation through the extension of the 123 Agreement."

Menendez said the leaders of North Korea would do well to follow the example of South Korean President Park Geun-hye in her initiatives for peace. Menendez was on the escort committee for an address President Park made before a Joint Session of Congress earlier this year in which she proposed a Northeast Asia Peace Initiative.

"Whether leaders in Pyongyang have the courage that President Park has demonstrated to pursue peace, and to allow the people of North Korea to build a better life for themselves and their families remains to be seen," Menendez said.