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Foreign minister vows ‘stern’ action against potential NK nuclear test

South Korean Foreign Minister Park Jin speaks to reporters at the Korean War Veterans Memorial in Washington on Sunday. (Yonhap)
South Korean Foreign Minister Park Jin speaks to reporters at the Korean War Veterans Memorial in Washington on Sunday. (Yonhap)

Amid growing speculation that Pyongyang may carry out a nuclear test soon, Seoul’s foreign minister reiterated during a four-day trip to Washington that the government would take “stern measures” in the event of a detonation.

After laying a wreath at the Korean War Veterans Memorial in Washington Foreign Minister Park Jin said Sunday that North Korea has finished preparations for a nuclear test according to assessments.

“(The North) had launched an intercontinental ballistic missile and then short-range missiles. Now we assess that (the regime) is finished with the preparation for the seventh nuclear test, and it is now only up to the political decision,” Park said.

“We do not know exactly when the North would carry out the provocation, but the international society, including the United Nations Security Council, believes Pyongyang should resolve problems via dialogue and diplomacy,” Park said.

Park departed on his first trip to Washington on Sunday and was to hold his first face-to-face meeting with US Secretary of State Antony Blinken on Monday.

The Korean minister also reiterated Seoul’s efforts to strengthen deterrence against Pyongyang’s provocations, and that the government would take “stern action.”

“(The North) should not be talking about (setting a security principle of) ‘power for power,’ but should come up with measures to relieve the pain its people feel from COVID-19, instead of launching missiles and artillery,” Park said, adding that he would discuss cooperative measures with his US counterpart Blinken.

It is Park’s first official visit to the US as minister since he stepped into office in May. He had traveled to Washington in April, leading a policy consultation delegation of President Yoon Suk-yeol, who was inaugurated on May 10.

Park also plans to meet with US Secretary of Commerce Gina Raimondo and Secretary of Energy Jennifer Granholm during his trip.

By Jo He-rim (herim@heraldcorp.com)
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