No soft response in case of North Korean nuclear test, says South Korean official

SEOUL (Reuters) – South Korea’s national security adviser said he and his counterparts in the United States and Japan had agreed there would be no soft response if North Korea proceeded to a nuclear test, the Yonhap news agency reported on Friday.

Kim Sung-han made the comment in Hawaii where he held trilateral talks with US National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan and Japan’s Akiba Takeo amid signs the North has completed preparations to conduct its first nuclear test since 2017.

“If North Korea conducts its seventh nuclear test, the response will be clearly different from the past,” Kim told reporters Thursday (Hawaii time) after the trilateral talks, according to Yonhap.

“We agreed that there should never be such a complacent thought or response that North Korea has only conducted one more nuclear test in addition to the six tests it has conducted,” Kim said.

The isolated and nuclear-armed North has conducted missile tests at an unprecedented rate this year.

In mid-August, North Korea fired two cruise missiles from the west coast after South Korea and the United States resumed the largest field exercises in years.

Pyongyang has long denounced them as a rehearsal for war.

In recent talks, the three officials also agreed to cooperate on global supply chain issues, while Kim separately raised concerns about new U.S. rules on electric vehicle subsidies, the official said. South Korean presidential office.

Kim said after a bilateral meeting with Sullivan the day before that the United States had promised to review the impact of the new rules after Seoul raised concerns they could hurt South Korean automakers. .

Measures taken under the Inflation Reduction Act (IRA), signed into law by US President Joe Biden last month, would include stopping subsidies for electric vehicles manufactured outside North America, which could affect companies like Hyundai Motor and its subsidiary Kia Corp.

This week’s meeting marked the first meeting of the three officials since South Korean President Yoon Suk-yeol took office in May.