Pyongyang’s fifth nuclear test on Sept. 9 has strengthened coordination among the three countries in response to what South Korean Foreign Minister Yun Byung-se called a “looming perfect storm,” Yonhap reported.
“What we see is a looming perfect storm that may not only pounce on Northeast Asia but sweep over the entire world,” Yun said after the three diplomats had adopted a joint statement.
In his remarks Kerry reminded North Korea the door to negotiations is open provided Pyongyang show a commitment to verifiable denuclearization.
“The immediate need is for them to freeze where they are, to agree to freeze and not to engage in any more provocative actions, not engage in more testing, particularly in order to bring countries together and to begin a serious negotiation about the future,” the top U.S. diplomat said on Sunday.
North Korea has refused to go unrecognized as a nuclear weapons state, and in past statements blamed the United States and its allies for its decision to pursue weapons proliferation.
Heavier sanctions are being planned, but according to Yun other key measures include the closing of loopholes in sanctions Resolution 2270 adopted in March after North Korea’s fourth nuclear test.
On Friday a group of 19 U.S. senators led by Sen. Cory Gardner, R-Colo., issued a letter addressed to President Barack Obama that stated North Korea’s nuclear and ballistic missile programs pose a “direct threat to the U.S. homeland in the immediate future,” and called for tougher unilateral sanctions.
“In the wake of this latest provocation from Pyongyang, we ask you to take immediate steps to expand U.S. sanctions against North Korea and those entities that assist the regime, most importantly China-based entities,” the statement read.
The letter also condemned North Korea for an “unprecedented campaign of ballistic missile launches,” Pyongyang’s “belligerent behavior,” and requested China to exercise its economic and diplomatic leverage over the North.