SEOUL • South Korean and Chinese defence ministry officials discussed North Korea's latest nuclear test yesterday, as pressure intensified on Beijing to take a tougher line with ally Pyongyang.
The director-level defence talks are held every year, but were completely overshadowed this time around by the North's fourth nuclear test last week, which triggered global condemnation and the promise of fresh UN sanctions.
"China expressed its willingness to take part in adopting a UN Security Council sanctions resolution," the head of the South Korean delegation Yoon Soon Ku, told reporters afterwards.
"China reiterated that it thoroughly rejects the North's nuclear development and nuclear testing," he said.
China's Foreign Minister Wang Yi said in a statement yesterday that China supports the UN Security Council in taking "the necessary response" to the nuclear test.
The talks came two days after South Korean President Park Geun Hye urged China to support genuinely punitive sanctions that would help bring Pyongyang to heel.
"I believe China is aware that if its strong determination is not put into actual, necessary actions, we will not be able to prevent a fifth or sixth nuclear test," Ms Park said.
North Korea's leader Kim Jong Un is working on a nuclear deterrent to avoid the the fate of slain dictators Saddam Hussein and Muammar Gaddafi, a former Japanese defence minister said yesterday.
"So as long as they maintain nuclear capability, they think they can survive," Mr Satoshi Morimoto, a professor at Tokyo's Takushoku University, who served as defence minister in 2012, told a conference in Athens.
AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE, REUTERS