The United States, Japan and South Korea warned on Wednesday that an “unprecedented” scale of response would be warranted if North Korea carries out a seventh nuclear bomb test.
Washington and its allies believe that North Korea may be about to resume nuclear bomb tests for the first time since 2017.
“We agreed that an unprecedented scale of response would be necessary if North Korea goes ahead with a seventh nuclear test,” South Korean Vice Foreign Minister Cho Hyun-dong told a news conference in Tokyo.
Cho made the remarks alongside his Japanese and American counterparts, Deputy Foreign Minister Takeo Mori and Under Secretary of State Wendy Sherman.
The United States and its allies have offered few details on what further steps they might take, and observers say they have few good options to prevent 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 to impose new United Nations Security Council sanctions and intensified allied military drills only it has led to more North Korean rehearsals and exercises.
“We urge (North Korea) to refrain from further provocations,” Sherman said, calling them “reckless and deeply destabilizing for the region.”
“Anything that happens here, such as a North Korean nuclear test, … has implications for the security of the whole world,” he said, sending an implicit message to China and Russia at the UN Security Council.
“We actually hope that all members of the Security Council understand that any use of a nuclear weapon will change the world in incredible ways.”
Asked about Tokyo’s comments, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Wang Wenbin called on all countries to acknowledge “the root causes of the long stalemate” and take steps to enhance mutual trust and address concerns of all parties. in a balanced way.
North Korea has conducted weapons tests at an unprecedented rate 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 coast, calling it a dire warning to its southern neighbor.
In September, the USS Ronald Reagan and accompanying ships conducted joint military exercises with South Korean forces in response to a North Korean ballistic missile test, their first joint military training with a US aircraft carrier since 2017.
In response, the United States, South Korea and Japan have pledged to deepen cooperation, Mori said.
“We agree to further strengthen the deterrence and response capabilities of the US-Japan alliance and the US-South Korea alliance and promote greater security cooperation between the three countries,” Mori said.
Turning to the rising tensions between China and Taiwan, Sherman reiterated the US position that it does not support Taiwan independence, but that does not prevent it from working with Japan and South Korea to help Taiwan protect itself.
“The United States has publicly repeated that we do not support Taiwan independence, but we want to make sure there is peace, so we will do everything we can to support Taiwan and work with Japan and the ROK to ensure that Taiwan can defend itself.” Sherman said.
At a Communist Party meeting this month, Chinese President Xi Jinping called for Beijing’s plans to build a world-class army to be accelerated, saying his country would never give up the right to use force to resolve the issue of Taiwan.
China claims that democratically governed Taiwan is its own territory, while Taiwan’s government strongly opposes China’s claims of sovereignty, saying only the island’s 23 million people can decide its future.