In Seoul on Tuesday, Deputy Secretary of State Wendy Sherman warned there would be a “forceful” response from the US and South Korea if North Korea conducts a nuclear test as tensions on the Korean peninsula are soaring.
“Any nuclear test would be in complete violation of UN Security Council resolutions [and] there would be a swift and forceful response to such a test,” Sherman said.
The US has been warning North Korea might be preparing for its first nuclear test since 2017 as Pyongyang’s ballistic missile tests have been more frequent.
On Monday, the US and South Korea fired eight ballistic missiles into the sea in response to a North Korean missile test. It was the first time this year that Washington and Seoul reacted to one of Pyongyang’s tests by launching missiles of their own and came not long after South Korea’s new President Yoon Suk-yeol came into office.
Yoon was sworn in on May 10 and vowed to take a harder line on the North than his predecessor Moon Jae-in, who was a major proponent of peaceful reunification. “North Korea’s nuclear and missile [programs] are reaching the level of threatening not only peace on the Korean Peninsula but also in Northeast Asia and the world,” Yoon said on Monday.
The Biden administration has so far accomplished nothing when it comes to its North Korea policy. The administration maintains that it is open to talks with North Korea but has not offered any incentive such as sanctions relief to bring Pyongyang to the table, and tensions continue to rise.