JAPAN: For the first time since 2017, the United States, Japan, and South Korea believe that North Korea is set to resume nuclear bomb testing.
The US, Japan, and South Korea warned of an “unparalleled” scale of reaction on Wednesday (October 26) amid simmering tensions on the Korean Peninsula if North Korea conducts a seventh nuclear bomb test.
At a press conference in Tokyo, South Korea’s first vice foreign minister, Cho Hyun-dong, stated, “We agreed that if North Korea goes forward with a seventh nuclear test, an unprecedented magnitude of retaliation will be required.”
This year, North Korea has continued to test weapons at an unprecedented rate, and one of those tests included the launch of a short-range ballistic missile. Indeed, several sources claimed that it frequently fired artillery shells just across the inter-Korean border.
At the joint press conference, Cho addressed his counterparts from Japan and the US, Vice Foreign Minister Takeo Mori and Deputy Secretary of State Wendy R. Sherman, respectively.
“We urge (North Korea) to stop further provocations,” Sherman said, adding that such moves might be “reckless and deeply destabilising for the region.”
She sent a thinly veiled warning to Pyongyang’s backers, China and Russia, in the UN Security Council by saying, ”Any event, even a nuclear test by North Korea, has repercussions for the security of the entire globe.”
”We sincerely hope that everyone in the Security Council will understand how drastically the world will change if a nuclear bomb is used,” she further added.
She posted a tweet regarding her meeting, saying, “Great to see Foreign Minister Hayashi, Vice Foreign Minister Mori, and First Vice Foreign Minister Cho in Tokyo. Together, the US, ROK, and Japan are addressing security challenges in the Indo-Pacific and beyond.”
Sherman also reaffirmed that the US was continuing to “seek serious and sustained discussion with the DPRK (Democratic People’s Republic of Korea)”, the formal name for North Korea, according to a statement from US State Department spokesman Ned Price.
In response to the remarks, Wang Wenbin, a spokesperson for the Chinese foreign ministry, stated that the countries should accept “the root causes of the long-standing impasse.” To improve mutual trust and fairly address the concerns of all parties, Wang advised that the required steps be taken.
When a strike group of US Navy aircraft carriers entered the waters of the Korean Peninsula, tensions rose as the North reacted negatively to the move. The state’s foreign minister declared that it posed a “serious threat” to stability.
The yearly Hoguk defence exercises, which are intended to improve South Korea’s capacity to respond to North Korea’s nuclear and missile threats, have recently worked to improve preparedness and further increase surveillance capabilities.