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Tuesday, January 31, 2023

SKorea, US, Japan vow strong response if North tests nuke

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Honolulu(US): South Korea, Japan and the US have agreed to stern measures against a new nuclear test by North Korea, Seoul’s top security adviser said, adding the countries’ reaction will be different from those of the past.

Kim Sung-han made the remarks after a trilateral meeting on Thursday with his US and Japanese counterparts — Jake Sullivan and Takeo Akiba — in Honolulu, Yonhap news agency reported.

“(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 nuclear test,” Kim told reporters before heading home.

“Should North Korea conduct its seventh nuclear test, our reaction will certainly be different from those until now,” he added.

Officials in Seoul and Washington earlier said the North appears to have completed “all preparations” for a nuclear test and that it may only be gauging the timing.

Pyongyang conducted its sixth and last nuclear test in September 2017.

The White House said the U.S. national security adviser reaffirmed U.S. commitment to the defense of South Korea and Japan.

They discussed their joint commitment to peace and stability across the Taiwan Strait and condemned North Korea’s continued development of its ballistic missile and weapons of mass destruction programs, and Russian aggression in Ukraine, it said of the trilateral meeting in a press release.

The three-way meeting between the top national security advisers of the nations marked the first of its kind in 16 months, as well as the first since Kim Sung-han took office earlier this year, Yonhap reported.

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