TOKYO (AP) — Senior diplomats from the U.S., Japan and South Korea concurred Saturday on the need for a strong response in the U.N. Security Council to North Korea's recent nuclear test.
U.S. Assistant Secretary of State Antony Blinken and his Japanese and South Korean counterparts said Saturday that a failure to send a clear message would risk further provocations by Pyongyang.
"The failure to take significant measures now almost guarantees North Korea will continue to repeat these moves," Blinken said. "It's the opposite of what we seek in the region."
The three said they agreed on the need for early adoption of the strongest resolution possible. But they did not give specifics of their talks, saying the discussions on a U.N. resolution were ongoing.
"If it's not resolved now, in coming years we may have to pay a higher price and therefore we need a clear message," said Lim Sung-nam, South Korea's first vice minister of foreign affairs.
All three said they were hoping that China, the North's closest ally and chief source of aid, would also work for a strong resolution.
North Korea is urging the world community to accept it as a nuclear power. Pyongyang has said it could stop nuclear tests in exchange for the U.S. scrapping joint military drills with South Korea. It also is calling for a peace treaty with the U.S., echoing demands that were rejected by Washington in the past.
Blinken chastised North Korea for the "flaunting of its international obligations."
"It has repeatedly rejected our engagement offers," Blinken told reporters. "It's hard to take any of their overtures seriously, especially in the wake of their nuclear test."