The Latest: US urges China to shift approach on NKorea
SEOUL, South Korea (AP) — The latest on North Korea’s announcement that it conducted a hydrogen bomb test Wednesday (all times local):
7:25 a.m. Friday
U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry has urged China to end “business as usual” with North Korea after the isolated nation conducted its fourth nuclear test.
Kerry told reporters in Washington that he spoke by phone Thursday with Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi. He said that China’s approach to North Korea had failed.
“Now China had a particular approach that it wanted to make and we agreed and respected to give them the space to be able to implement that, but today in my conversation with the Chinese I made it very clear, that has not worked and we cannot continue business as usual,” Kerry said.
The U.N. Security Council that has pledged new sanctions against North Korea after its purported hydrogen bomb test on Wednesday. China has a pivotal position as it is a permanent council member and the North’s main trading partner.
The main newspaper in North Korea, the Workers’ Daily, hailed the country’s nuclear test as a success, and all the other state-controlled media left no doubt about the official report of the hydrogen bomb detonation.
North Korean media report only official news, and any other version of events can’t be spoken about openly.
The newspaper headline in Korean read: “Statement of the government of DPRK on the complete success of Korea’s first hydrogen bomb test.”
On the street, people were reading the newspaper on display stands.
Student Ryu Jin said: “If we look back at our history, we can see it is true that if we are weak, the people will be crying, but if our country is strong, then it will be our enemies who are crying. As a small country, we have suffered in the past, but now we have got a hydrogen bomb, there is nothing greater than this. It really makes me feel strong.”
Another Pyongyang resident, Ri Chon Hyang, says the nuclear test made him happy. He added: “Not just me, my friends are also so happy, we don’t know how to put it into words. This gives strength and enthusiasm to all of us here as we are trying to make progress in the new year.”
Protesters took to the streets in Seoul to denounce North Korea’s reported nuclear testing.
About 150 people from a conservative civic group gathered near Gwanghwamun Square and called for the South Korean government to take stern measures against North Korea.
They burned an effigy of North Korean leader Kim Jong Un and cut apart the North Korean flag.
North Korea announced on Wednesday it had tested a hydrogen bomb for the first time, drawing widespread international condemnation but also skepticism and doubt.
South Korea says it will retaliate for a North Korean nuclear test by resuming cross-border propaganda broadcasts that Pyongyang considers an act of war.
The South’s presidential office made the announcement Thursday, a day after the North claimed its first hydrogen bomb test. The claim has been disputed by outside governments and experts.
The South stopped earlier broadcasts after it agreed with Pyongyang in late August on a package of measures aimed at easing animosities were among a variety of punitive measures being considered.
Seoul said the broadcasts will start Friday.
U.S. intelligence-gathering aircraft have been taking off from an American air base in southern Japan, a day after North Korea said it tested a hydrogen bomb.
At least three planes departed Thursday from Kadena Air Base on the Japanese island of Okinawa.
It wasn’t clear what they were doing, but they could be involved in trying to determine what kind of nuclear device North Korea detonated.
One of the aircraft seen departing, the RC-135S, collects optical and electronic data from ballistic targets. It is used for arms treaty compliance verification and U.S. strategic and missile defense development.
White House spokesman Josh Earnest told reporters in Washington on Wednesday that “the United States will be collecting additional evidence” and working closely with other countries in the region to learn more about the North Korean test.
— Koji Ueda, Okinawa, Japan
South Korea is limiting entry to an industrial park in North Korea jointly run by two Koreas in its first concrete action since Pyongyang said it had carried out a successful hydrogen bomb test.
The Unification Ministry says visitors who are not directly related to business operations in Kaesong industrial park will be denied entry. It affects clients, potential buyers and service providers to 120 South Korean businesses in the North Korean border city.
South Korean companies — mostly small- and medium-sized — make products such as watches and fashion goods with cheap labor from North Korea. The park, which employs about 53,000 North Koreans, is the last major inter-Korean project from the era of rapprochement.