South Korea and the United States agreed Saturday to push for "strong and comprehensive" sanctions against North Korea against its latest nuclear test, Seoul's Foreign Ministry said.
The discussion was made during a bilateral meeting between South Korean Vice Foreign Minister Lim Sung-nam and U.S. Deputy Secretary of State Tony Blinken in Tokyo ahead of their trilateral talks involving Japanese Vice Foreign Minister Akitaka Saiki due later in the day.
Earlier this month, North Korea carried out an underground detonation test, the fourth of its kind. In the wake of the latest provocation in defiance of repeated international calls for restraint, the regional powers as well as the United Nations and Pyongyang's long-time ally of China have sought ways to effectively punish the bellicose regime.
"The two vice ministers agreed to push to come up with strong and comprehensive sanctions against North Korea to get it to pay due prices," the ministry said in a release.
"For the goal, the two sides will push for a swift adoption of the U.S. resolution and put differentiated diplomatic pressures in multiple dimensions, while further strengthening the jointreadiness posture," it added.
Ahead of the meeting with Blinken, Lim told reporters, "I believe that Seoul and Washington can send a strong and clear message to Pyongyang and the international community that we would never respond (to the nuclear test) as if nothing has happened."
Bashing the North for hurting regional security and peace, Blinken stressed the allies' concerted efforts against the grave challenges.
The allies also exchanged opinions on how to induce China's full support for punitive measures against Pyongyang so as to cause Pyongyang to change its course, according to Seoul officials.
South Korea has striven to draw Beijing's support for stringent sanctions against North Korea to make them more effective, while China, which has been reluctant to get tough on the North, said it would join a U.N. Security Council resolution.