SEOUL (Reuters) - Defence officials from South Korea and China will meet on Friday 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 neighbor.
The North’s nuclear test on Wednesday last week angered both China and the United States and again raised questions about what can be done to stop its development of nuclear weapons.
Senior defense 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 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 program, adding it could use its permanent seat on the U.N. 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,” 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 U.S. ally South Korea have grown closer in recent years.
The U.S. special envoy for North Korea, 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.
(Story corrects to say meeting will be on Friday, in first paragraph)
Reporting by Jack Kim; Editing by Robert Birsel