North Korea nuclear test would be met with ‘unprecedented’ reactions: US, Japan, South Korea

North Korea nuclear test would be met with ‘unprecedented’ reactions: US, Japan, South Korea


The United States, Japan and South Korea warned on Wednesday that a North Korean nuclear test would warrant an “unprecedentedly strong response” and vowed unity after a flash of missile launches from the hermit state.

After the Tokyo talks, the three nations’ deputy foreign ministers said they would step up their deterrence in the region.

“We agreed to further increase cooperation … so that North Korea can immediately cease its illegal activities and return to talks on denuclearization,” said Cho Hyun-dong of South Korea.

“The three countries agreed on the need for an unprecedentedly strong response as North Korea proceeds with its seventh nuclear test,” he told reporters.

Seoul and Washington have repeatedly warned that Pyongyang may be on the verge of testing a nuclear bomb for the first time since 2017, following a spate of missile launches.

A missile flew over Japan last month, and North Korea has separately claimed to have been conducting tactical nuclear exercises.

“All of this behavior is reckless and deeply destabilizing,” said US Deputy Secretary of State Wendy Sherman, urging North Korea “to refrain from further provocation.”

Last month, Northern leader Kim Jong Un declared the country an “irreversible” nuclear power, effectively ending negotiations on its banned arms programs.

Kim met three times with Biden’s predecessor, Donald Trump, which eased tensions but failed to produce a lasting deal, and the country showed little interest in accepting US President Joe Biden’s offer for working-level talks.

Japan’s Deputy Foreign Minister Takeo Mori said North Korea’s “intensification of nuclear and missile activities … is a clear and serious challenge to the international community”.

“We have agreed to increase deterrence in our region in view of North Korea’s denuclearization,” he said.

The trio said they also discussed a wide range of issues, including the war in Ukraine, China and Taiwan.

However, Mori and Cho said there has been no discussion of long-strained bilateral relations between Japan and South Korea.

More to explorer