The United States, South Korea and Japan have vowed to “maximize” their response to North Korea’s next nuclear test, according to a senior security official in Seoul, amid repeated predictions that Pyongyang is preparing for another trial.
Speaking to reporters following a high-level meeting between Seoul, Washington and Tokyo on Thursday, South Korea’s top security adviser Kim Sung-han said another North Korean nuclear test would prompt a stern reaction from the three allies.
“[We] agreed that there must not be naive thinking or reaction that North Korea has conducted six nuclear tests and that [a new test] will only be one more,” he said, adding “Should North Korea conduct its seventh nuclear test, our reaction will certainly be different from those until now.”
The comments followed a sit-down in Honolulu, Hawaii involving Kim, US national security advisor Jake Sullivan and their Japanese counterpart, Takeo Akiba. A White House readout on the meeting said the three officials discussed “protecting and advancing the rules based international order,” and “condemned the [North Korea’s] continued development of its ballistic missile and weapons of mass destruction programs,” among other things.