Officials gird for North’s atomic test

Kyodo

Japanese and U.S. officials met Monday to discuss ways to dissuade North Korea from carrying out a third nuclear test after Pyongyang’s declaration last week that it will perform one at a “higher level.”

During talks in Tokyo, Shinsuke Sugiyama, director general of the Foreign Ministry’s Asian and Oceanian Affairs Bureau, and visiting U.S. special envoy on North Korea Glen Davies were believed to have exchanged views on how to respond to the test if it is conducted.

The talks came less than a week after the U.N. Security Council adopted a resolution condemning North Korea’s rocket launch on Dec. 12, which the council saw as a violation of previous resolutions banning launches that make use of ballistic missile technology.

Before coming to Japan, Davies visited South Korea and China, where he met with his counterparts in the six-way talks aimed at ending North Korea’s nuclear threat.

Last Thursday, North Korea declared that the six-party talks, which have been stalled since 2008, no longer exist, vowing to launch an “all-out action to foil the hostile policy” of the United States, and conduct a nuclear test of a “higher level.”

While it is unclear what a nuclear test at a higher level means, some observers say it may mean the miniaturization of a warhead that could be delivered on an intercontinental ballistic missile.