South Korea, China defence officials to discuss North Korea nuclear test: Report

South Korean President Park Geun Hye speaking at a news conference in Seoul on Jan 13.
South Korean President Park Geun Hye speaking at a news conference in Seoul on Jan 13.PHOTO: AFP

SEOUL (REUTERS) - Defence officials from South Korea and China will meet on Friday (Jan 15) to discuss North Korea's latest nuclear test, the Yonhap news agency reported, after the South and the United States put pressure on China to rein in its neighbour.

The North's nuclear test last Wednesday (Jan 6) angered both China and the United States and again raised questions about what can be done to stop its development of nuclear weapons.

Senior defence officials of South Korea and China will meet in Seoul in an annual forum and discuss a joint response to the test, the South Korean news agency reported.

A South Korean Defence Ministry official could not immediately confirm the report.

North Korea said last week that it successfully tested a hydrogen bomb, but the United States and experts questioned the claim saying the recorded blast was too small for it to have been such a device.

South Korean President Park Geun Hye called on China on Wednesday to use its influence over North Korea to press it to end its nuclear programme, adding it could use its permanent seat on the UN Security Council to help draw up effective sanctions.

"I believe the Chinese government will not allow the situation on the Korean peninsula to deteriorate further," Ms Park told a news conference.

China is the North's main ally and trade partner but it opposes its bombs, while China's ties with US ally South Korea have grown closer in recent years.

The US special envoy for North Korea, Mr Sung Kim, met his South Korean and Japanese counterparts in Seoul on Wednesday and said they had agreed that a "meaningful" new sanctions resolution was needed from the Security Council.

"I hope the Chinese authorities agree with us that we simply cannot take a business as usual approach to this latest provocation," he said.