TOKYO, Oct 26 (Reuters) – The United States, Japan and South Korea warned on Wednesday that an “unprecedented” response would be warranted if North Korea conducted its seventh nuclear bomb test.
Washington and its allies believe that North Korea may resume a nuclear bomb test for the first time since 2017.
“We agreed that an unprecedented response will be required if North Korea goes ahead with its seventh nuclear test,” South Korean Deputy Foreign Minister Cho Hyun-dong told a news conference in Tokyo.
Cho was speaking alongside his Japanese and US counterparts, Deputy Foreign Minister Takeo Mori and Deputy Secretary of State Wendy Sherman.
The United States and its allies have given few details about what new measures they might take, and observers say they have few good options to prevent new tests.
For the first time since North Korea began testing nuclear weapons in 2006, China and Russia this year have voted for the US-led United Nations additional sanctions of the United Nations Security Council, and joint military training has been met by more tests of North Korea and. exercises.
“We urge (North Korea) to desist from their continued provocation,” Sherman said, calling them “reckless and destabilizing the region.”
“Anything that happens here, like North Korea’s nuclear test … has implications for global security,” he said, sending a cryptic message to Pyongyang’s supporters, China and Russia, in the UN Security Council.
“We hope that everyone in the Security Council will understand that any use of a nuclear weapon would change the world in dramatic ways.”
When asked about the comments from Tokyo, Chinese foreign ministry spokesman Wang Wenbin called on all countries to acknowledge the “roots of the long-standing problem” and take steps to strengthen mutual trust and address the concerns of all parties equally. the way.
North Korea has been testing weapons at an unprecedented rate this year, firing more than a dozen missiles, including one that flew over Japan.
Angered by South Korea’s military activities, Pyongyang last week fired hundreds of projectiles off its coast in what it called an ominous warning to its southern neighbor.
In September, the USS Ronald Reagan and escort ships conducted a joint military exercise with South Korean forces in response to a North Korean missile test in their first military exercise involving a US aircraft carrier since 2017.
In response, the United States, South Korea and Japan are committed to strengthening cooperation, Mori said.
“We agreed to further strengthen the deterrence and response capabilities of the Japan-US alliance and the US-South Korea alliance, and promote security cooperation between the three countries,” Mori said.
In the escalation of tensions between China and Taiwan, Sherman reiterated the US position that it does not support Taiwan’s independence, but does not stop cooperating with Japan and South Korea to help Taiwan defend itself.
“The United States has reiterated publicly that we do not support Taiwan’s independence, but we want to ensure that there is peace, and so we will do everything in our power to support Taiwan and work with Japan and the Republic of Korea to ensure that Taiwan can defend itself,” Sherman said.
At a Communist Party meeting this month, Chinese President Xi Jinping called for accelerating China’s plans to build a world-class military and said his country would never give up the right to use force to resolve the Taiwan issue.
China claims democratically controlled Taiwan as its territory, while Taiwan’s government vehemently opposes China’s sovereignty claims and says only the island’s 23 million people can decide their own fate.
Reporting by Kiyoshi Takenaka in Tokyo, Additional reporting by Hyonhee Shin, Soo-hyang Choi and Josh Smith in Seoul, and Eduardo Baptista in Beijing; Written by Chang-Ran Kim; Edited by Simon Cameron-Moore
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