US Deputy Secretary of State Wendy Sherman has warned that if North Korea conducts a nuclear test, it will see a strong and clear response from the United States, South Korea and the world.
“Any nuclear test is a complete violation of UN Security Council resolutions and there will be a swift and strong response to such tests. I believe that not only South Korea, the United States and Japan but the whole world will react strongly and clearly.
“We are ready, our tripartite (US with Japan and South Korea) talks will continue tomorrow,” Sherman told a news conference Tuesday after meeting with South Korean Deputy Foreign Minister Cho Hyun-dong in Seoul.
Tensions are running high across the Korean Peninsula, with the United States and South Korea launching six missiles the next day in response to multiple simultaneous short-range ballistic missiles fired by North Korea simultaneously on Sunday, Reuters reported. In the meantime, Sherman warned Pyongyang about the nuclear test.
Pungi-ri, North Korea’s only known nuclear test site, is showing signs of new construction, and U.S. and South Korean government officials and North Korean experts have been saying for weeks that Pyongyang could soon test a nuclear bomb.
North Korea has not tested a nuclear bomb since 2016.
The head of the International Atomic Energy Agency, Rafael Grossi, said on Monday that work was under way to expand key installations at North Korea’s main nuclear power plant in Yongbyon.
Tensions are running high on the Korean Peninsula at a time when North Korea is struggling to cope with the Kovid-19 outbreak.
As of Monday, the country had reported signs of fever among 41,98,790 people. Many experts estimate that this number may be lower than the actual number of victims.
The World Health Organization (WHO) estimates that the situation is getting worse. But even so, North Korea has so far not responded to Washington and Seoul’s offer of help in tackling Kovid.
“South Korea and the United States and others have not yet responded to the offer of humanitarian assistance. But we hope that North Korean leader Kim Jong Un will return to the negotiating table instead of provoking and taking dangerous and unstable actions and focus on helping his country’s people meet the challenge of the Covid-19, “Sherman said.