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Yoon warns of unprecedented response if N. Korea conducts nuclear test

President Yoon Suk-yeol (second from left) inspects a multipurpose unmanned vehicle during a visit to Hyundai Rotem Co. in Changwon, 400 kilometers south of Seoul, last Thursday. (Yonhap)
President Yoon Suk-yeol (second from left) inspects a multipurpose unmanned vehicle during a visit to Hyundai Rotem Co. in Changwon, 400 kilometers south of Seoul, last Thursday. (Yonhap)

President Yoon Suk-yeol said any new nuclear test by North Korea will be met with an international response "not seen in the past" and called on China to play a greater role to deter the North's provocations.

Yoon made the remarks in an interview with Reuters, released Tuesday, amid growing concerns the North could conduct its seventh nuclear test after a series of recent missile launches.

Should the North forge ahead with a test, Yoon vowed a response "not seen in the past" by South Korea and its partners.

"It would be extremely unwise for North Korea to conduct a seventh nuclear test," Yoon was quoted as saying in the interview.

"We must respond consistently, and in lockstep with each other," Yoon said, blaming a lack of consistency in the international response for the failure of three decades of North Korea policy.

Regarding Pyongyang's increased missile provocations, Yoon said China not only has the responsibility but the capability to influence North Korea's behavior.

"China can and must exercise influence to stop North Korea from developing weapons. What is sure is that China has the capability to influence North Korea, and China has the responsibility to engage in the process," Yoon said.

Pyongyang has fired 63 ballistic missiles this year, including 10 intercontinental ballistic missiles, which is 2.5 times more than its previous annual record of 25, according to US officials. (Yonhap)

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