WASHINGTON, D.C. (CBSDFW/AP) – U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry says he is deeply concerned about North Korea after the communist government announced that it had conducted its fifth nuclear test.
In Geneva for meetings about Syria, Kerry says he spoke Friday with the foreign ministers of Japan and South Korea. He says “everybody shares concerns” about the situation on the Korean peninsula right now.
Kerry says the U.S. is still trying to determine precisely what happened. He didn’t refer to Friday’s event as a nuclear test.
He spoke as he started a day of Syria negotiations with Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov.
Lavrov says he will talk to Japanese Foreign Minister Fumio Kishida soon. He says U.N. Security Council resolutions on North Korea must be respected “and we must send this message very strongly.”
Japan’s Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga says Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and President Barack Obama held telephone talks and agreed to cooperate in seeking an emergency U.N. Security Council meeting to discuss a possibility of effectively imposing sanctions on North Korea over the nuclear test.
The Security Council in March imposed the toughest sanctions on North Korea in two decades, reflecting growing anger at Pyongyang’s nuclear test and rocket launch earlier this year in defiance of a ban on all nuclear-related activity.
President Barack Obama says the U.S. “does not and never will” accept the country (North Korea) as a nuclear state.
U.S. Senator Ted Cruz also strongly condemned North Korea’s latest test of a nuclear warhead in a statement released Friday.
“International sanctions and diplomacy have failed in the face of North Korea’s grim resolve to become a nuclear power. Kim Jong-un is not going to suddenly become more reasonable than his father or grandfather–he is their standard bearer. A credible U.S. policy toward North Korea must include the designation of Chinese entities responsible for aiding in the DPRK’s proliferation activities. Furthermore, we should redouble cooperation with South Korea and Japan as they confront this growing menace, and reinforce their growing alliance as we take common sense steps such as the deployment of the THAAD missile defense system to the region. North Korea should be on notice that the United States will not tolerate their destabilizing aggression–and other rogue regimes pursuing nuclear capability like Iran should be on notice that we will not allow this history to repeat itself.”
Japan’s Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga called North Korea an “outlaw nation in the neighborhood,” while the French presidency says “the international community must unite against this new provocation.”
The U.N. Security Council has scheduled an emergency meeting, and several members are expecting an immediate condemnation and discussions on further measures including sanctions.
British U.N. Ambassador Matthew Rycroft said “the U.K. will be pushing for as robust and speedy a response as possible.”
He said three things would count as “further significant measures” and Britain will pursue a combination of all three — strong implementation of existing sanctions, additional names added to the sanctions blacklist, and a strengthening of sanctions.
Japan’s U.N. Ambassador Koro Bessho said “we would like the Security Council to be united and coming up with a very strong message that shows the way forward.”
Russia’s U.N. Ambassador Vitaly Churkin told reporters: “I think we should condemn it first of all” and then discuss possible further measures.
North Korea said its test will allow it to finally build, “at will,” stronger, smaller and lighter nuclear weapons.
It was the country’s fifth atomic test and second in eight months.
Other nations including China, Pakistan and South Korea have condemned the test.
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