US Secretary of State John Kerry
speaks during a press conference after he attended the East Asia Foreign
Ministers’ meeting on the sidelines of the Association of Southeast
Asian Nations (ASEAN) annual ministerial meeting in Vientiane on July
26, 2016. (AFP photo)
Kerry told reporters on the sidelines of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) annual
ministerial meeting in Laos that North Korea is the only country that
is moving in the opposite direction when the rest of the world is moving
toward a nuclear-free world.
“Together we are determined… to
make absolutely certain that DPRK [the Democratic People’s Republic of
Korea] understands that there are real consequences for these actions,”
Tensions simmer in the East Asia region ever since
Pyongyang launched its forth nuclear test in January, followed by a
series of missile launches.
Pyongyang declared itself a nuclear power in 2005 and carried out four nuclear weapons tests in 2006, 2009, 2013 and 2016.
Korea also launched a long-range rocket in February, which according to
Pyongyang was aimed at placing an earth observation satellite into
orbit. However, Washington and Seoul described the practice as a cover
for an intercontinental ballistic missile test.
North Korea has
pledged to develop a nuclear arsenal in a bid to protect itself from the
US military, which occasionally deploys nuclear-powered warships and
aircraft capable of carrying atomic weapons in the region.
also holds joint military maneuvers with Seoul, which Pyongyang views
as preparations for war and a direct threat against its security.