A senior U.S. defense official on Tuesday urged North Korea to return to the negotiating table for denuclearization.
Under Secretary of Defense for Policy John Rood said at a hearing of the House Armed Services Committee that North Korea must understand its only path out of economic isolation is to engage in "meaningful, good faith negotiations towards complete denuclearization."
Rood said that the Pentagon's role is to maintain a strong and reliable military to ensure that the U.S. can always negotiate in a better position. It will also provide diplomatic room for successful diplomacy.
The U.S. official said sanctions are crucial to making North Korea clearly understand that it cannot achieve economic growth and illegal weapon development simultaneously.
Rood also repeated calls for South Korea to increase its defense cost sharing. He said his country is asking its partners and allies, particularly wealthy ones, to shoulder a larger share of the burden in maintaining peace, security and stability, but cautioned against damaging the value of the alliance.