Clinton Brushes off N.Korea Missile Launch Reports

The United States will continue working for a nuclear-free Korean peninsula regardless of reports that North Korea launched missiles on Monday, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said.

Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton (AP Photo/Charlie Neibergall)
Charlie Neibergall

The United States and its allies were trying to demonstrate to North Korea that the international community would not accept its continuing nuclear program, she said.

"Our goals remain the same. We intend to work toward a nuclear free Korean peninsula," Clinton told a news conference in Belfast. "Our consultation with our partners and allies continues unabated. It is unaffected by the behavior of North Korea."

Earlier, South Korea's Yonhap news agency quoted a government source as saying that Pyongyang had fired five short-range missiles off its east coast and declared a "no sail" zone in the area from Oct. 10-20. South Korean government officials were not immediately available for comment.

The latest launches, the first in about three months, come as Pyongyang has said it is ready to return to international talks on its nuclear weapons program, though it has insisted it holds talks first with the United States.

"We have made a lot of progress with the other members of the six party talks who joined us in the very strong sanctions against North Korea and who have been working with us to restart a process there," Clinton said.

"We pursue this goal like we pursue all of our national security goals: through obstacles, overcoming challenges, a persistent patience that ... doesn't have any guarantee of outcome but is a very important way of us building a coalition and creating the space to try to demonstrate clearly to the North Koreans that the international community will not accept their continuing nuclear program."