News / Asia

S. Korea Issues Warning to North Against Nuclear Test

Anti-North Korea civic group hold signs and chant slogans during a rally denouncing North Korea's possible nuclear test plan in Seoul, January 31, 2013.
Anti-North Korea civic group hold signs and chant slogans during a rally denouncing North Korea's possible nuclear test plan in Seoul, January 31, 2013.
South Korea is issuing its sternest warning yet to North Korea not to conduct another nuclear test, which some officials in Seoul and Washington say may be imminent.

After South Korean President Lee Myung-bak convened a meeting of his top national security officials Thursday, his government warned North Korea it faces harsh punishment should it go ahead with a nuclear test.

In a statement, presidential spokesman Park Jeong-ha warned Pyongyang of “very grave consequences” unless it immediately halts “all provocative words and actions” and complies with international obligations.

That sentiment was echoed hours later by foreign ministry spokesman Cho Tai-young.

Cho confirms the government issued a “grave warning” at the meeting of foreign affairs and security ministers. The spokesman says Seoul insists Pyongyang “move towards de-nuclearization on the Korean peninsula, as they have promised” and Pyongyang “must bear in mind that only isolation is waiting” if it continues such provocations.

North Korea conducted nuclear tests in 2006 and 2009. It has also carried out long-range rocket launches that the international community has condemned as thinly disguised inter-continental ballistic missile tests.

For those actions, the United Nations Security Council has imposed sanctions on the reclusive and impoverished state.

Pyongyang recently warned it would continue with rocket launches and carry out a third nuclear test of a “higher level” that it contends will be aimed at its declared "arch enemy," the United States.

In Thursday's security meeting in Seoul, officials say President Lee instructed his defense minister to maintain strong military readiness in response to escalating tensions on the peninsula.

South Korean officials are not saying what sort of grave consequences the North could face or whether that could include military action.

Next month, South Korea takes the rotating presidency of the United Nations Security Council. That will allow it to convene meetings of the council at any time, something now considered a certainty should there be a North Korean nuclear test.

The two Koreas do not have a diplomatic relationship. They have technically remained in a state of war since a 1953 armistice brought to a pause three years of devastating civil conflict. The war also involved the Chinese on the North Korean side and the United States, backed by U.N. forces, on the South Korean side.

Military and intelligence officials in Seoul and Washington differ on assessments of North Korea's nuclear weapons development. The country is believed to have a few plutonium-fueled bombs and has revealed a facility it says is enriching uranium.

However, the general consensus is North Korea is still some years away from being able to make a warhead small and light enough to place atop an intercontinental ballistic missile.

Steve Herman

A veteran journalist, Steven L Herman is the Voice of America Asia correspondent.

You May Like

Video Experts Warn World Losing Ebola Fight

Doctors Without Borders says world is losing battle against Ebola, unless wealthy nations dispatch specialized biological disaster response teams More

Video Experts: Rise of Islamic State Significant Development in Jihadism

Many analysts contend the group - which grew out of al-Qaida in Iraq - has been rebuilding for years More

US-Based Hong Kongers Pledge Support for Pro-Democracy Activists

Democracy advocates call on Chinese living abroad to join them in opposing new election rules for their home territory More

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
Comments
     
by: JKF from: Ottawa, Canada
January 31, 2013 2:01 PM
South Korea faces a reality that is not changing for the better. SKorea needs to ensure that its population is well protected from any irrational actions/attack from NK. So far NK continues to make decisions, that when viewd from a democratic perspective, are irrational; there are no signs that this perception will change. No ifs and buts,SKorea needs to ensure it has very well developed/implemented civil defense measures/programs/infrastructure in place, and that its people are also well versed in all aspects of self protection/ self-preservation. Additionally, it needs to maintain a competent standing, credible deterrent force; and an equally competent and credible reserve force. It is unfortunate, but the NKorean leadership is not at all predictable, thus the situation is very dangerous.


by: L2
January 31, 2013 6:58 AM
Even though, US, France, and China are a part of NTP


by: L2
January 31, 2013 6:53 AM
Don't the US have Nuc? Don't the Frace have Nuc? Don't the China have Nuc? So Why can't NK have a Nuc? (Not that NK should have a Nuc)
THERE IS A PROBLEM

In Response

by: wizardteo from: batu pahat
January 31, 2013 11:25 AM
the problem is rational and cooperative, law by laws, you feel safe and allow a policemen having weapon and walk past you but how you feel when someone not police had their weapon and walk toward you?

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Larger Than Life Chinese Lanterns Make Southern California Appearancei
X
Elizabeth Lee
September 02, 2014 8:57 PM
Chinese lanterns with a long history are lighting up in 21st century style at the Los Angeles County Fair in southern California. Visitors can see traditional lanterns that hang, but also lanterns in the shape of animals, iconic landmarks and many other objects, all created by artisans from a place in China known for its lanterns. Elizabeth Lee has the details from the fair in the city of Pomona.
Video

Video Larger Than Life Chinese Lanterns Make Southern California Appearance

Chinese lanterns with a long history are lighting up in 21st century style at the Los Angeles County Fair in southern California. Visitors can see traditional lanterns that hang, but also lanterns in the shape of animals, iconic landmarks and many other objects, all created by artisans from a place in China known for its lanterns. Elizabeth Lee has the details from the fair in the city of Pomona.
Video

Video Experts See Rise of ISIS as Significant Development

The Islamic State’s rise seems sudden. It caught the U.S. by surprise this summer when it captured large portions of northern Iraq and spread its wings in neighboring Syria. But many analysts contend that the group - which grew out of al-Qaida in Iraq - has been rebuilding for years. VOA's Jela de Franceschi takes a closer look at the rise of ISIS and its implications for the Middle East and beyond.
Video

Video Israel Concerned Over Syrian Rebels in Golan

Israeli officials are following with concern the recent fighting between Syrian rebels and government forces near the contested Golan Heights. Forty-four U.N. peacekeepers from Fiji have been seized by Syrian Islamist rebels and the clashes occasionally have spilled into Israel. VOA’s Scott Bobb reports from Jerusalem.
Video

Video Ukraine Schools Resume Classes, Donate to Government Forces

A new school year has started in Ukraine but thousands of children in the war-torn east are unable to attend because of ongoing clashes with pro-Russia rebels. In Ukraine's capital, patriotic education has become the norm along with donations to support injured security forces fighting to take back rebel-held areas. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports from Kyiv.
Video

Video US Detainees Want Negotiators for Freedom in North Korea

The three U.S. detainees held in North Korea were permitted to speak with foreign media Monday. The government of Kim Jong Un restricted the topics of the questions, and the interviews in Pyongyang were limited to five minutes. Each of the men asked Washington to send a representative to Pyongyang to secure his release. VOA’s Carolyn Presutti has our story.
Video

Video Turkmen From Amerli Describe Survival of IS Siege

Over the past few weeks, hundreds of Shi'ite Turkmen have fled the town of Amerli seeking refuge in the northern city of Kirkuk. Despite recent military gains after U.S. airstrikes that were coordinated with Iraqi and Kurdish forces, the situation remains dire for Amerli’s residents. Sebastian Meyer went to Kirkuk for VOA to speak to those who managed to escape.
Video

Video West Africa Ebola Vaccine Trials Possible by Early 2015

A U.S. health agency is speeding up clinical trials of a possible vaccine against the deadly Ebola virus that so far has killed more than 1,500 people in West Africa. If successful, the next step would be a larger trial in countries where the outbreak is occurring. VOA's Carol Pearson has more.
Video

Video Survivors Commemorate 70th Anniversary of Nazi Liquidation of Jewish Ghetto

When the German Nazi army occupied the Polish city of Lodz in 1939, it marked the beginning of a long nightmare for the Jewish community that once made up one third of the population. Roughly 200,000 people were forced into the Lodz Ghetto. Less than 7,000 survived. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, some survivors gathered at the Union League Club in Chicago on the 70th anniversary of the liquidation of the Lodz Ghetto to remember those who suffered at the hands of the Nazi regime.

AppleAndroid