Nations prepare to respond to North Korea nuclear tests
By Alastair Wanklyn - Tokyo
North Korea will warrant an “unparalleled” scale of response if it conducts another nuclear test, senior diplomats from Japan, South Korea and the United States said today.
The officials were speaking after talks in Tokyo.
South Korea’s First Vice Foreign Minister Cho Hyun-dong added, a nuclear attack by North Korea is now more possible, after Pyongyang changed its military doctrine last month.
This, he said, has created “serious tension” on the Korean Peninsula.
Meanwhile, Japan’s representative said North Korea’s recent volley of missiles, including one which flew over Japan has put the region on edge.
“North Korea’s recent high rate of missile launches poses a clear and serious challenge to the international community,” Japanese Vice Foreign Minister Takeo Mori said.
Also at the meeting, United States Deputy Secretary of State Wendy Sherman, said North Korea has lost the trust of its neighbours.
“All of this behavior, all of it, is reckless and deeply destabilising to the region. We urge the DPRK to refrain from further provocations. And we remain committed to dialogue with the DPRK, without preconditions.”
Japan’s Mori said Tokyo, Seoul and Washington will strengthen joint deterrence and means of coping with the threat from North Korea. He gave no further details.
Officials in Washington and in East Asia have said recently they believe North Korea is preparing to detonate a nuclear bomb, its first such test in about five years. There are few options to prevent it from doing so.
The meeting came a day after Pope Francis addressed a peace summit in Rome. He warned against nuclear arms.
He said war is a failure of humanity but conflicts can be defused, he said, “by the weapon of dialogue.”
The Pope signed a document calling for the world to be “rid of the nuclear nightmare,” for the sake of future generations.