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(4th LD) Park condemns apparent N.K. nuke test

All Headlines 13:18 September 09, 2016

(ATTN: ADDS details in paras 7-9)
By Song Sang-ho

VIENTIANE, Sept. 9 (Yonhap) -- South Korean President Park Geun-hye on Friday condemned North Korea's apparent nuclear test, saying that its provocation will only invite stronger international sanctions, deepen its isolation and hasten its self-destruction.

Park also said the latest provocation explicitly ignored the international community's united position against the North's nuclear program and attested to North Korean leader Kim Jong-un's recklessness.

The commander-in-chief, in addition, said that South Korea, in close cooperation with the international community, will seek "much stronger sanctions" and mobilize "all possible means" to pressure Pyongyang into renouncing its nuclear ambitions.

"This (nuclear test) is a clear violation of U.N. Security Council (UNSC) resolutions and a grave challenge to the international community," Park said during an emergency meeting with her aides in Vientiane, the last leg of her three-nation trip.

The emergency meeting was attended by Foreign Minister Yun Byung-se, Trade Minister Joo Hyung-hwan, Park's chief foreign policy secretary Kim Kyou-hyun and Kang Seog-hoon, senior presidential secretary for economic affairs.

Park also held emergency telephone talks for 15 minutes with U.S. President Barack Obama, who is aboard his presidential plane, to discuss the North's provocation.

During the talks, the two sides agreed to mobilize "all means available," including a stronger UNSC sanctions resolution, and to apply stronger pressure on the North, Park's office Cheong Wa Dae said.

Obama pledged to take all measures under the South Korea-U.S. mutual defense treaty, which include Washington's "extended deterrence" involving the nuclear umbrella, Park's office said.

Extended deterrence means the U.S.' stated commitment to mobilize all military capabilities, nuclear and conventional, to defend its Asian ally against North Korea's possible aggression and provocations.

Park, meanwhile, cut short her overseas trip after a magnitude 5 earthquake was detected near the North's nuclear site in its northeastern region, suggesting that the reclusive country carried out another nuclear test.

If confirmed, it would be its fifth nuclear tests carried out since its first in 2006. Pyongyang conducted its last test in January.

Park is in the Laotian capital to attend bilateral and multilateral summits involving the 10-member Association of Southeast Asian Nations. Laos is the third and last leg of her eight-day trip that also took her to Russia and China.

South Korean President Park Geun-hye (C) presides over an emergency meeting to discuss Pyongyang's apparent nuclear test in the Laotian capital of Vientiane on Sept. 9, 2016, in this photo provided by the presidential office Cheong Wa Dae. (Yonhap)

sshluck@yna.co.kr
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