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” response would be needed if North Korea conducted its seventh nuclear test.

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

“We agreed that a response of unprecedented scale will be required if North Korea goes ahead with its seventh nuclear test,” South Korean First Vice Foreign Minister Cho Hyun-dong told a news conference in Tokyo.

Cho spoke alongside his Japanese and US counterparts, Undersecretary of State Takeo Mori and Undersecretary of State Wendy Sherman.

The United States and its allies have offered few details of 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 effort to impose additional U.N. Security Council sanctions, and increased military exercises by the allies have come only with more North Korean tests and exercises.

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

“Anything 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 really hope that all members of the Security Council will understand that the use of any nuclear weapon will change the world in incredible ways.”

When asked about comments from Tokyo, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Wang Wenbin called on all countries to recognize the “root causes of the protracted impasse” and take steps to promote mutual trust and address the concerns of all parties in a balanced manner. way.

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North Korea has conducted 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 fired hundreds of artillery shells off its coast last week in what it said was a serious warning to its southern neighbor.

In September, the USS Ronald Reagan and escort ships conducted joint military exercises with South Korean forces in response to North Korea’s ballistic missile test, their first joint military exercises 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 capabilities of the Japan-US alliance and the US-South Korea alliance, and promote further security cooperation between the three countries,” Mori said.

As tensions between China and Taiwan rise, Sherman reiterated the US position that it does not support Taiwan’s independence, but that 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, and 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 itself,” 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 give up its right to use force to resolve the Taiwan issue.

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

Reporting by Kiyoshi Takenaka in Tokyo, additional reporting by Hyong-hee Shin, Soo-hyang Choi and Josh Smith in Seoul and Eduardo Baptista in Beijing; Written by Chan Ran Kim; Editing: Simon Cameron-Moore

Our Standards: The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

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