U.S. Deputy Secretary of State Wendy Sherman and her Japanese and South Korean counterparts vowed an unprecedented response to North Korea’s expected nuclear test at a three-way meeting on Wednesday, according to Reuters.
The three foreign ministers warned North Korea they would respond with “unparalleled” action when Pyongyang follows through with its seventh nuclear weapons test, widely expected to take place before the U.S. midterm elections on Nov. 8, according to Reuters. However, it remains unclear what options the U.S. and its East Asian allies have should the communist country make good on its threats.
Sherman urged Pyongyang to rein in further “provocations,” calling them “reckless and deeply destabilizing for the region,” according to Reuters.
“Anything that happens here, such as a North Korean nuclear test … has implications for the security of the entire world,” she added at a news conference in Tokyo. (RELATED: Russia Plans On Buying Millions Of Artillery Shells From North Korea: REPORT)
Earlier this year, China and Russia vetoed a U.S.-led United Nations resolution to intensify sanctions against North Korea for its illicit weapons programs for the first time since the North began test-firing nuclear warheads in 2006, according to Reuters.
“We hope indeed that everyone on the Security Council would understand that any use of a nuclear weapon will change the world in incredible ways,” Sherman said, according to Reuters.
“We agreed that an unparalleled scale of response would be necessary if North Korea pushes ahead with a seventh nuclear test,” South Korean First Vice Foreign Minister Cho Hyun-dong said at the same conference, according to Reuters.
In a separate meeting with Cho on Tuesday, Sherman pledged to deploy the “the full range of U.S. defense capabilities” in defense of Asian allies against nuclear threats, The Associated Press reported.
.@SecBlinken: The United States has absolutely no hostile intent toward the DPRK. We’re open to dialogue without preconditions. We want to support the people of North Korea, including with COVID-19 vaccines. Our goal, simply put, is a peaceful and stable region and world. pic.twitter.com/Jhj9WcgDX6
— Department of State (@StateDept) June 13, 2022
North Korea has conducted missile tests at a historic rate in 2022. Several have penetrated South Korean and Japanese airspace, landing in waters near Japan, and on Oct. 13 North Korea claimed to have fired two long-range cruise missiles capable of carrying nuclear warheads, according to state media.
The U.S. responded with shows of force through multiple sets of military exercises with Japan and South Korea, but Pyongyang has yet to back down on its rapid missile launches.
U.S. troops stationed in South Korea conducted river crossing drills with local forces on Oct. 19, part of the South’s annual Hoguk defense drills, according to Reuters. The drills, which extend until Oct. 28, involve maneuvers to enhance combined operations between the two militaries to counter North Korean missile threats.
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