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

The United States, Japan and South Korea warned on Wednesday that a “retaliation of unparalleled magnitude” would be justified if North Korea carried out its seventh nuclear bomb test.

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

“We have agreed that an unprecedented response will be necessary if North Korea conducts its seventh nuclear test,” South Korea’s first vice minister of foreign affairs, Cho Hyun-dong, told a news conference in Tokyo.

Cho spoke 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 provided few details on what new measures they might take, and observers say they have little good chance of preventing another test.

For the first time since North Korea began testing nuclear weapons in 2006, China and Russia this year vetoed a U.S.-led push for additional United Nations Security Council sanctions, and the allies’ military exercises only stepped up after more North Korean tests. exercises.

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

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

“We hope that all members of the Security Council will understand that any use of nuclear weapons will change the world in incredible ways.

When asked about the comments from Tokyo, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Wang Wenbin urged all countries to recognize the “root causes of the long-standing impasse” and take measures to strengthen mutual trust and address the concerns of all countries in a balanced manner. way.

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

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

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

In response, the United States, South Korea and Japan pledged to deepen 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 further security cooperation between the three countries,” Mori said.

Amid rising tensions between China and Taiwan, Sherman reiterated the United States’ position 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 publicly reiterated that we do not support Taiwan’s independence, but we want to ensure peace, so we will do everything we can to support Taiwan and work with Japan and the Republic of Korea to ensure that Taiwan.” can defend themselves,” Sherman said.

At a Communist Party meeting this month, Chinese President Xi Jinping called for an acceleration of China’s plans to build a world-class military and said his country would never give up its right to use force to resolve the Taiwan issue.

China claims democratically-ruled Taiwan as its territory, while Taiwan’s government fiercely opposes China’s sovereignty claims, saying only the island’s 23 million residents 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; Writer Chang-Ran Kim; Edited by Simon Cameron-Moore

Our Standards: The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

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