S. Korean FM warns N. Korea against nuclear test
SEOUL, April 22 (Yonhap) -- South Korea's foreign minister on Tuesday warned North Korea against a new nuclear test amid growing speculation that the communist nation may detonate a nuclear bomb in the near future.
"If North Korea goes ahead with another nuclear test as it has publicly warned, it will be a game changer," Foreign Minister Yun Byung-se said in his opening speech at a local forum hosted by the Asan Institute for Policy Studies, a private think tank.
"The unyielding nuclear ambitions" of North Korea are one of the biggest challenges facing the Korean Peninsula, with dangers stemming from North Korea far more complex than in the early 1990s under former leaders, Yun noted.
The foreign minister's warning came on the same day the South Korean defense minister disclosed a growing possibility of a fourth nuclear test by North Korea.
Defense ministry spokesman Kim Min-seok said in a briefing that signs of activity were observed at North Korea's Punggye-ri nuclear test site, a closely watched indicator for nuclear testing.
Having conducted three nuclear tests since 2006, the North has threatened to carry out a "new form" of nuclear test last month.
Some media have speculated that North Korea may conduct a nuclear test during U.S. President Barack Obama's visit to South Korea slated for later in the week.
The outside world suspects North Korea is nearing completion of developing its intercontinental ballistic missile technology.
"The international communist will not tolerate North Korea's nuclear weapons," the foreign minister said, urging Pyongyang to choose the right path. North Korea is only playing "an unwinnable game against the international community," he added.
Also touching on President Park Geun-hye's push to lay the groundwork for the unification of the sides, Yun said, "A unified Korea will be free from nuclear weapons."
Foreign Minister Yun Byung-se gives an opening speech at a local forum hosted by the Asan Institute for Policy Studies on April 22, 2014. (Yonhap)