The US, Japan, and South Korea on Wednesday agreed that a North Korean nuclear weapons test would be met with an “unprecedentedly strong response” as tensions continue to rise on the Korean Peninsula.
US Deputy Secretary of State Wendy Sherman met with her Japanese and South Korean counterparts in Tokyo to discuss North Korea.
South Korea’s First Vice Foreign Minister Cho Hyun-dong said the officials agreed to increase cooperation “so that North Korea can immediately stop its illegal activities and return to denuclearization talks.”
Cho added that the three countries “agreed on the need for an unprecedentedly strong response if North Korea proceeds with its seventh nuclear test.”
North Korea hasn’t conducted a nuclear test since 2017, but Pyongyang has launched a record number of missile tests this year, and the US and South Korea have resumed conducting joint war games after years of not holding them.
As tensions grow, the Biden administration has not changed its approach to Pyongyang, and chances for diplomacy seem slim. The administration still insists on the “denuclearization” of the Korean peninsula, which is a non-starter for talks with the North.
Sherman also met with Japanese and South Korean officials on Tuesday and threatened that the US could use nuclear weapons to defend its allies from North Korea. She said the US “will use the full range of US defense capabilities to defend our allies, including nuclear, conventional, and missile defense capabilities.”