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FM warns of 'full force' of U.N. sanctions if N. Korea conducts nuclear test

2014/07/01 13:46

BEIJING, July 1 (Yonhap) -- South Korean Foreign Minister Yun Byung-se warned Tuesday that North Korea will face "the full force" of U.N. sanctions if the North goes ahead with a fourth nuclear test.

In an op-ed piece published by the state-run China Daily, Yun also projected a sense of urgency in preventing North Korea from conducting another nuclear test. Yun's article was published two days before Chinese President Xi Jinping makes a state visit to Seoul for summit talks with South Korean President Park Geun-hye.

North Korea has threatened to conduct a "new form of nuclear test" since early this year, although recent satellite images show no signs that a test is imminent.

"Over the last couple of months, the DPRK (North Korea) has threatened to carry out yet another nuclear test," Yun said.

"Today's most urgent task, therefore, must be to prevent this from happening, and then to check further advances in the DPRK's nuclear weapons and delivery capabilities," the minister said.

"The U.N. Security Council has imposed extensive sanctions on the DPRK in response to its three previous nuclear tests," Yun said. "Any further provocation will bring the full force of the organization's sanctions to bear."

  

South Korean Foreign Minister Yun Byung-se (Yonhap file photo)

South Korean Foreign Minister Yun Byung-se (Yonhap file photo)

North Korea has conducted three nuclear tests since 2006, but outside experts doubt Pyongyang has mastered the miniaturization technology needed to mount a nuclear warhead on a missile.

However, former U.S. Deputy Secretary of State Richard Armitage said last month in Beijing that he believes North Korea will proceed with its fourth nuclear test in what would be a "key moment" in its efforts to arm a ballistic missile with a nuclear warhead.

"I do believe that there will be a fourth nuclear test," Armitage told a session of the 3rd World Peace Forum hosted by Tsinghua University in Beijing on June 22. "I can't tell you when, but this will be a key moment in North Korea's nuclear weapons program."

   Citing assessments from nuclear experts in the United States, South Korea and Japan, Armitage said, "Four tests would probably give enough information to North Korea so they can well develop the way of miniaturization."

   kdh@yna.co.kr

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