Senior State Department official says ‘the whole world’ would react harshly to any nuclear test by Pyongyang
A senior US official has sworn “energetic response” whether North Korea conducts a nuclear test, after Pyongyang’s latest ballistic missile launch over the weekend was accompanied by a similar show of force from Washington and Seoul.
Speaking to reporters after a meeting with her South Korean counterpart, US Assistant Secretary of State Wendy Sherman said any nuclear test would violate UN Security Council resolutions and warned of a massive international backlash .
“There would be a quick and forceful response to such a test,” she said adding “The whole world will respond loudly and clearly. We are ready.
While Sherman did not elaborate on what that retaliation might look like, his comments came just a day after Pyongyang fired a barrage of ballistic missiles into the ocean, its eighteenth weapons test so far in 2022. The move prompted US and South Korean forces to conduct their own launch a day later, with the Seoul military saying the test demonstrated the ability to “quickly and accurately” respond to a North Korean attack.
Japan, also acting in conjunction with the Pentagon, conducted a separate missile test in response, saying it showed the two allies. “Quick response capability.”
Earlier Monday, State Department spokesman Ned Price raised concerns that North Korea could conduct its seventh nuclear bomb test at some point. “in the coming days,” reiterating previous warnings about a possible lawsuit.
“It’s a concern we’ve been warning about for some time, I can assure you it’s a contingency we’ve planned for, and it’s been a matter of concerted discussion with allies and partners,” he said.
Pyongyang’s last known nuclear test was carried out in 2017, before a self-imposed moratorium agreed under the Donald Trump administration. The country had also suspended ballistic missile testing under a “freeze for freeze” deal that saw a brief hiatus from U.S.-South Korean military drills but resumed after joint drills resumed.
Newly elected South Korean President Yoon Suk-yeol and his US counterpart Joe Biden agreed to increase joint military exercises in a deterrent message to the North, with Biden offering to send more “strategic assets” to the Korean peninsula at the request of Seoul, in addition to the approximately 30,000 American troops already stationed there.
As Yoon’s predecessor, Moon Jae-in, sought peace with the North and President Trump tried to hammer out a far-reaching deal with Pyongyang, neither leader managed to calm the long-simmering hostilities. and relations have effectively returned to the pre-Trump status quo. .
READ MORE: North Korea conducts largest missile test – Seoul