The United States, Japan and South Korea warned on Wednesday that North Korea’s nuclear test would trigger an “unprecedented force response”, vowing a show of unity after several missile launches by the communist regime in Pyongyang.
After talks in Tokyo, the deputy foreign ministers of the three countries clearly pledged to strengthen their deterrence in the region.
“We agreed to further strengthen cooperation (…) so that North Korea immediately ends its illegal activities and resumes denuclearization talks,” South Korea’s Cho Hyun-dong said.
“The three countries agree that if North Korea conducts its seventh nuclear test, an unprecedented use of force will be necessary,” he told reporters.
After a series of ballistic missile launches in recent weeks, for the first time since 2017, Seoul and Washington have repeatedly warned that Pyongyang could conduct another nuclear test.
A missile flew over Japan last month, and North Korea has separately said it has conducted strategic nuclear drills.
“All of these behaviors are dangerous and deeply destabilizing,” said US Assistant Secretary of State Wendy Sherman, urging North Korea to “refrain from further provocation.”
Japanese Deputy Foreign Minister Takeo Mori stated that “the intensification of North Korea’s nuclear and missile activities (…) poses a clear and serious challenge to the international community”.
The three countries agreed to “strengthen deterrence in our region with an eye toward North Korea’s denuclearization.”