Allies discuss Pyongyang’s nuclear goals
WASHINGTON - Representatives from Seoul, Washington and Tokyo reached a consensus on taking measures against North Korea if the regime carries out a fourth nuclear weapons test, Seoul’s envoy said yesterday.
Hwang Joon-kook, the newly appointed South Korean envoy to the so-called six-party talks aimed at denuclearizing North Korea, told reporters after a three-way meeting in Washington with his counterparts from the United States and Japan that Pyongyang would face punitive action if it conducted another nuclear test.
“A nuclear weapons test would be a challenge against the international community and a threat against international peace and safety,” Hwang said at the headquarters of the U.S. State Department in Washington after the three-hour-long talks with his U.S. counterpart, Glyn Davies, special representative for North Korea policy, and his Japanese counterpart, Junichi Ihara, the director general of the Asian and Oceanian Affairs Bureau.
“If North Korea pushes forward with a nuclear test, we will make them pay a price for it,” Hwang added.
The meeting among the allies follows a trilateral summit with South Korean President Park Geun-hye, U.S. President Barack Obama and Japan’s Prime Minister Shinzo Abe on March 25 in The Hague, where the three agreed on an imminent revival of the long-stalled talks.
It has been about six months since six-party talks representatives from the three nations were last brought together.
The last time the six-party talks, which includes the two Koreas, the United States, China, Japan and Russia, happened was in 2008 in Beijing.
North Korea walked out of that meeting and no talks have been held since.
On March 30, North Korea warned in a statement to South Korea’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs that it would carry out “a new form of a nuclear test,” implying a fourth nuclear weapons test and possibly the first with a uranium-fueled device.
When asked what kinds of measures the allies would take in case of a nuclear test by Pyongyang, Hwang said they would “include various measures, including [those by] the UN Security Council.”
After the three-way talks, the South Korean envoy had a closed-door bilateral meeting with Ihara to discuss Pyongyang’s nuclear weapons program.
BY PARK SEUNG-HEE, KIM HEE-JIN [email@example.com]