US official says he will react forcefully if North Korea mounts nuclear test

US Under Secretary of State Wendy Sherman speaks to the media after meeting with South Korea’s First Deputy Foreign Minister Cho Hyun-dong at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Seoul, South Korea, June 7, 2022. Jung Yeon-je/Pool via REUTERS

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SEOUL, June 7 (Reuters) – U.S. Under Secretary of State Wendy Sherman said on Tuesday there would be a strong and clear response from the United States, South Korea and the world if North Korea proceeds to a nuclear test.

“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…I believe that not only the Republic of Korea, the United States and Japan, but the whole world will react in a strong and clear way,” she told a press conference after speaking with her South Korean counterpart, Cho Hyun-dong, in Seoul. ROK is the Republic of Korea, the official name of South Korea.

“We are ready and (…) we will continue our trilateral discussion (with South Korea and Japan) tomorrow,” Sherman added.

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His remarks come after South Korean and US forces fired eight surface-to-surface missiles off South Korea’s east coast on Monday morning in response to a barrage of short-range ballistic missiles launched by North Korea on Sunday. . Read more

US and South Korean government officials and North Korean experts have been saying for weeks that there are signs of new construction at Punggye-ri, North Korea’s only known nuclear test site, and that Pyongyang could soon to test a bomb. The North has not tested a nuclear bomb since 2017.

The head of the International Atomic Energy Agency, Rafael Grossi, said Monday that North Korean construction work to expand key facilities at its main Yongbyon nuclear facility was progressing. Read more

Reclusive North Korea suffered its first-ever COVID-19 outbreak in the past month, with the country reporting a total of 4,198,890 people with symptoms of fever on Monday. North Korea has not confirmed the total number of people who have tested positive for the coronavirus, with experts saying the figures announced may be an underestimate.

Pyongyang has so far refused any help offered by Washington and Seoul, even as the World Health Organization says the COVID-19 situation is worsening. Read more

“The Republic of Korea and the United States and others have offered a humanitarian response that has yet to be accepted, but we hope (North Korean leader) Kim Jong Un will focus on helping his people to meet this challenge of COVID-19 that we have all faced and will return to the negotiating table rather than taking provocative, dangerous and destabilizing steps,” Sherman said.

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Reporting by Soo-hyang Choi and Joori Roh; Editing by Kim Coghill and Lincoln Feast.

Our standards: The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

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