U.S., Japan, S. Korea warn of ‘unparalleled’ response if N. Korea holds nuclear test

TOKYO, Oct 26 (Reuters) – The United States, Japan and South Korea warned on Wednesday that an “unprecedented” scale of response would be warranted if North Korea conducted a seventh nuclear bomb test.

Washington and its allies believe North Korea may be about to resume nuclear bomb tests for the first time since 2017.

“We agreed that an unprecedented response would be necessary if North Korea goes ahead with a seventh nuclear test,” South Korea’s Chief Vice Foreign Minister Cho Hyun-dong told a news conference in Tokyo.

Cho was speaking alongside his Japanese and US counterparts, Vice Foreign Minister Takeo Mori and Deputy Secretary of State Wendy Sherman.

The United States and its allies have offered few details on what new measures they might take, and observers say they have few good options for preventing a new test.

For the first time since North Korea began testing nuclear weapons in 2006, China and Russia this year vetoed a US-led push for additional UN Security Council sanctions, and more North Korean tests have only been achieved increased allied military drills. exercises.

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“We urge (North Korea) to refrain from further provocations,” Sherman said, calling them “reckless and highly destabilizing to the region.

“Anything that happens here, like North Korea’s nuclear test … has implications for the security of the whole world,” he said, sending a veiled message to Pyongyang’s supporters, China and Russia, at the UN Security Council.

“We really hope that everyone on the Security Council would understand that any use of a nuclear weapon will change the world in incredible ways.”

Asked about the comments out of Tokyo, Chinese foreign ministry spokesman Wang Wenbin called on all countries to recognize the “root causes of the long-standing standoff” and take steps to improve mutual trust and address the concerns of all parties in a balanced balance. mode.

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North Korea has been conducting weapons tests at an unprecedented pace this year, firing more than two dozen ballistic missiles, including one that flew over Japan.

Angered by South Korea’s military activities, Pyongyang last week fired hundreds of artillery shells off its coasts in what it called a serious warning to its neighbor to the south.

In September, the USS Ronald Reagan and associated ships conducted joint military exercises with South Korean forces in response to North Korea’s ballistic missile test in their first joint military exercise involving a US aircraft carrier since 2017.

In response, the United States, South Korea and Japan are committed to deepening cooperation, Mori said.

“We agreed to further strengthen the deterrence and response capability of the Japan-US alliance and the US-South Korea alliance, and to promote further security cooperation between the three countries,” Mori said.

On rising tensions between China and Taiwan, Sherman reiterated the US stance that it does not support Taiwan’s independence, but does not prevent it from working with Japan and South Korea to help Taiwan defend itself.

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“The United States has reiterated publicly that we do not support Taiwan independence, but we want to ensure that there is peace, and so we will do whatever we can to support Taiwan and to work with Japan and the Republic of Korea to ensure that Taiwan. can defend himself,” said Sherman.

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 renounce the right to use force to resolve the Taiwan issue.

China claims to rule Taiwan democratically as its own territory, while the Taiwanese government strongly opposes China’s claims of sovereignty and says that only the island’s 23 million people can decide its future.

Reporting by Kiyoshi Takenaka in Tokyo, Additional reporting by Hyonhee Shin, Soo-hyang Choi and Josh Smith in Seoul, and Eduardo Baptista in Beijing; Writing by Chang-Ran Kim; Edited by Simon Cameron-Moore

Our Standards: The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

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