The United States, Japan and South Korea warned on Wednesday that a North Korean nuclear test would trigger an “unprecedentedly strong response” and pledged to maintain unity in the face of Pyongyang’s multiple weapons tests.
During the meeting in Tokyo, the deputy foreign ministers of the three countries pledged to strengthen deterrence capabilities in the region.
“We agreed to further strengthen cooperation … so that North Korea immediately stops its illegal activities and returns to denuclearization talks,” South Korea’s Cho Hyun-dong said.
“The three countries agreed that if North Korea conducts its seventh nuclear test, it will respond in an unprecedented manner.”
South Korea and the United States have repeatedly warned that Pyongyang could conduct a nuclear test, its first since 2017.
The isolated communist country has carried out a record number of weapons tests since the start of the year, and this month announced it had conducted tactical nuclear exercises.
“All of this behavior is reckless and deeply destabilizing,” US Deputy Secretary of State Wendy Sherman said, urging North Korea to “refrain from further provocation.”
Japanese Vice Minister Taeko Mori declared that “North Korea’s intensification of nuclear and missile activities … poses a clear and serious challenge to the international community.”
“The three countries agreed to strengthen deterrence in the region with the aim of denuclearizing North Korea,” he added.
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