North Korea was warned on Wednesday that there would be an “unparalleled” response from the U.S., Japan and South Korea if it conducted a seventh nuclear test this year.
The warning comes not only after Pyongyang conducted a series of unannounced missile tests earlier this month, including a ballistic missile launched over Japan, but as the U.S. and its Asian allies fear it could be planning nuclear bomb testing for the first time since 2017, 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 reportedly told a news conference in Tokyo Wednesday.
Cho’s comments were issued while standing next to Japan’s Vice Foreign Minister Takeo Mori and U.S. Deputy Secretary of State Wendy Sherman.
The government officials did not go into detail as to what measures they would take to respond to North Korea if it did conduct another nuclear test.
However, Washington and its allies’ responses are likely limited given China and Russia’s veto earlier this year that blocked additional U.N. Security Council sanctions on Pyongyang for the first time since 2006.
Increased joint military drills in the region have also not deterred North Korea from continuing with its military ambitions despite its repeated violations to U.N. charter.
“We urge [North Korea] to refrain from further provocations,” Sherman told reporters Wednesday, adding that they are “reckless and deeply destabilizing for the region.”
“Anything that happens here, such as a North Korean nuclear test…has implications for the security of the entire world,” she added. “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.”
Chinese foreign ministry spokesman Wang Webin responded to the comments by reportedly calling on the West and its regional allies to acknowledge “the root causes of the long-standing impasse” and to address the concerns of all parties involved – comments that echo China’s controversial stance when it comes to Russia’s war in Ukraine.