N.Korean nuclear threat reached 'new level': Seoul

South Korea sends warning to Pyongyang while preparing for possible North Korean nuke test 

N.Korean nuclear threat reached 'new level': Seoul

World Bulletin / News Desk

South Korean Foreign Minister Yun Byung-se said Friday that North Korea's nuclear threat has risen to a "new level of seriousness," as the South entered a heightened state of alert over a tense standoff between Pyongyang and the United States.

Speculation has been building about a pre-emptive U.S. strike on North Korea in case of a major Pyongyang provocation, despite repeated assurances from South Korean officials that any American military action would need Seoul's agreement. The U.S. has sent a strong message to the North by dispatching a nuclear-powered aircraft carrier group close to the peninsula.

Yun said at an American Chamber of Commerce meeting that the key to forcing Pyongyang to back down from its rogue nuclear ambitions is close communication with Washington, insisting "there is no space, no daylight between our two countries on North Korea."

"If the North goes ahead with provocations such as a nuclear test or ICBM [intercontinental ballistic missile] launch, we warn again that its regime will surely face unbearably strong punitive measures," Seoul's Foreign Ministry said in further quotes carried by Yonhap News Agency.

The South's Joint Chiefs of Staff also stated Friday that North Korea could conduct a sixth-ever nuclear test at any time, particularly as Pyongyang will celebrate the 105th anniversary of the birth of late founder Kim Il-sung this Saturday. South Korean intelligence has additionally revealed preparations for a large military parade in the North Korean capital.

Against this backdrop, South Korean stocks closed the week down 0.64 percent, while the local currency dropped 10.3 Korean won against the U.S. dollar.

Güncelleme Tarihi: 14 Nisan 2017, 14:21