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Newsline: South Korea’s top diplomat says North completed preparations for new nuclear test

South Korea’s top diplomat said that North Korea has completed preparations for a new nuclear test and that only a political decision by the country’s top leadership can prevent it from going forward. After talks with Secretary of State Antony Blinken in Washington, South Korean Foreign Minister Park Jin said the North would pay a price if it goes ahead, as feared, with what would be its seventh nuclear test in the coming days. “North Korea has completed preparations for another nuclear test and I think only a political decision has to be made,” Park said. Prior to Monday, U.S. and South Korean officials had said only that the North was nearing completion of such preparations. “If North Korea ventures into another nuclear test, I think it will only strengthen our deterrence and also international sanctions,” Park said. “North Korea should change its mind and make the right decision.” Apart from sanctions, Park did not say what that price the North would pay or outline how the deterrence policy would change, but Blinken said the United States and treaty allies South Korea and Japan could adjust their military postures in response. “We’re preparing for all contingencies this in very close coordination with others and we are prepared to make both short and longer-term adjustments to our military posture,” Blinken said. He added that in addition, “the pressure will be sustained, it will continue and, as appropriate, it will be increased.” (https://www.wsbtv.com/news/politics/south-korea-says/GDPMHQCY5IFZFT2CF6O4SX73H4/) Both Park and Blinken men stressed the door to negotiations without any preconditions remains open for North Korea. But Blinken, repeating comments from numerous U.S. officials in recent days, lamented that North Korea continues to ignore overtures for dialogue.

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