White House says North Korea must halt weapons programs

North Korea's efforts to engage in dialogue while keeping certain elements of its weapons program running are unacceptable and will not succeed, the White House said on Thursday.

Susan Rice, the national security advisor for the White House, made the remarks on Wednesday during a presentation at Georgetown University on America's future in Asia. In discussing U.S. cooperation with China, Rice said the U.S. and China are aligned on confronting the threat of North Korea.

"Nowhere is this more evident than in confronting the threat that North Korea poses to international peace and security," Rice said. "The regime threatens its neighbors. Pyongyang proliferates dangerous goods and technologies. It seeks to expand its nuclear weapons arsenal and its long-range missile program in flagrant violation of international law. Consequently, one of our most pressing security goals is to roll back the threat posed by North Korea's nuclear and other (weapons of mass destruction) programs."

Rice said the U.S. is prepared for negotiations, but only if they are credible, authentic and result in irreversible steps toward denuclearization. She said North Korea's recent efforts to negotiate while it keeps its weapons programs running will not work.

"We will continue to join with international partners, especially China, to increase pressure on North Korea to denuclearize," Rice said. "We will do what is necessary to defend ourselves and our allies against any threat from North Korea, and we will maintain and expand, as necessary, both national and multilateral sanctions against North Korea. There will continue to be significant costs to future provocations."

Rice said North Korea has a choice between crippling economic sanctions and peace, development and security.