A senior South Korean official said on Wednesday that an agreement was reached with allies Japan and the United States to mount an “unparalleled” response if North Korea conducts a seventh test of a nuclear weapon.

The warning to North Korea was issued by South Korean First Vice Foreign Minister Cho Hyun-dong, who made the remarks in a joint press conference alongside his Japanese counterpart Takeo Mori and U.S. Deputy Secretary of State Wendy Sherman in Tokyo, Japan.

“We agreed that an unparalleled scale of response would be necessary if North Korea pushes ahead with a seventh nuclear test,” he said.

Pyongyang recently carried out a series of unannounced missile tests, including a ballistic missile that flew over northern Japan.

South Korea’s First Vice Foreign Minister Cho Hyundong (L), Japanese Vice Foreign Minister Takeo Mori (C), and U.S. Deputy Secretary of State Wendy Sherman (R) at a joint news conference in Tokyo, Japan, on Oct. 26, 2022. (Eugene Hoshiko, Pool/AP Photo)

Cho and Sherman both condemned North Korea’s recent ballistic missile launches as “reckless and destabilizing,” according to State Department spokesperson Ned Price, who added that Sherman made clear to its allies that its commitment to their defense remains “ironclad.”

Sherman said Tuesday that the United States was prepared to make full use of its military capabilities, “including nuclear, conventional, and missile defense” to defend Japan and South Korea.

The ramped-up rhetoric focused on North Korea is part of a strategy by Washington and its allies to boost defense and deterrence capability, according to Secretary of State Antony Blinken.

Epoch Times Photo
Secretary of State Antony Blinken speaks to reporters at Stanford University in Stanford, Calif., on Oct. 17, 2022. (Josh Edelson/AFP/Getty Images)

Blinken told Bloomberg in an interview on Wednesday that the United States and its allies fear North Korea seems to be girding for another nuclear test.

“We’ve made it clear to the North Koreans going back to last year that we were prepared to engage with them without any preconditions to move toward the denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula,” Blinken said, adding that North Korea hasn’t responded to those overtures.

“In fact the response has been exactly what you’ve cited, which is the increased number of missile tests, the prospect potentially of another nuclear test, which would be the seventh that they’ve undertaken,” he said.

North Korea missile launch
A TV screen shows file images of North Korea’s missile launch during a news program at the Seoul Railway Station in Seoul, South Korea, on Oct. 13, 2022. (Ahn Young-joon/AP Photo)

Washington is determined to work even more closely with allies and partners to strengthen defense and strengthen deterrence, while exerting “appropriate pressure” on North Korea for actions that Blinken called “dangerous” and “destabilizing.”

Japanese Defense Minister Yasukazu Hamada recently said North Korea has most likely succeeded in miniaturizing its nuclear warheads while boosting its missile capabilities by diversifying launch technologies, making such weapons more difficult to intercept.

All three allies also reaffirmed their joint aim of a complete denuclearization of North Korea.

Tom Ozimek


Tom Ozimek has a broad background in journalism, deposit insurance, marketing and communications, and adult education. The best writing advice he’s ever heard is from Roy Peter Clark: ‘Hit your target’ and ‘leave the best for last.’

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