The Korea Herald


Biden says US will have to take 'defensive' steps if N. Korea conducts nuclear test

By Yonhap

Published : Nov. 15, 2022 - 09:34

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US President Joe Biden is seen answering a question during a press conference held in Bali, Indonesia on Monday. (White House) US President Joe Biden is seen answering a question during a press conference held in Bali, Indonesia on Monday. (White House)

WASHINGTON -- The United States will have to take certain actions that will be "more defensive" should North Korea conduct a nuclear test, President Joe Biden said Monday.

The US leader said he has also called on Chinese President Xi Jinping to try and prevent North Korea from taking further escalatory steps, noting the US' defensive actions, if taken, will be "up in the face of China."

"I made it clear to President Xi Jinping that I thought they had an obligation to attempt to make it clear to North Korea that they should not engage in long range nuclear tests," Biden said when asked in a press conference if China had enough influence over North Korea to stop the reclusive country from conducting a nuclear test.

The press conference was held in Bali, Indonesia where Biden held his first in-person summit with Xi since taking office early last year.

"And I made it clear as well that if they did, they meaning North Korea, that we would have to take certain actions that would be more defensive on our behalf," Biden added.

The US president was earlier quoted as saying that the US will be required to increase its military presence in the Indo-Pacific if North Korea conducts a nuclear test.

He said the more defensive actions the US may take in case of a North Korean nuclear test will be "up in the face of China."

"But it wouldn't be because of China (but) because of what was gong on in North Korea," he told the press conference.

Biden said he has also explained to his Chinese counterpart that such actions will not be directed at China but North Korea, adding, "The biggest concern I have is a misunderstanding about intentions or actions on each of our parts."

Seoul and Washington have said the North appears to have completed all preparations for what will be its seventh nuclear test and that it may go ahead with a test in the very near future.

Such an assessment followed a series of recent North Korean missile tests.

Pyongyang has fired more than 40 missiles since September 25, including 23 missiles of various types launched in a single day on November 2. Since the start of the year, the recalcitrant country has fired some 60 ballistic missiles, including seven intercontinental ballistic missiles.

"I am confident China is not looking for North Korea to engage in further escalatory (actions), I mean because I made it clear and I made it clear from the very beginning and last year as well that we will do what it needs to defend our capacity, to defend ourselves and our allies, South Korea, as well as Japan," said Biden. (Yonhap)