By Hwang Sunghee
China has agreed to "strong" new measures to punish North Korea if it carries out a nuclear test, Seoul said Monday after the US signalled it may act to shut down Pyongyang's weapons program.
South Korea's top nuclear envoy made the comment after talks with his Chinese counterpart Wu Dawei, as the US sent a naval strike group to the region in a show of force.
"We agreed that there should be strong additional measures based on UN Security Council resolutions if the North pushes ahead with a nuclear test or an ICBM launch despite warnings from the international community," Kim Hong-Kyun told reporters.
The North may stage a "strategic provocation" to mark key political dates this month, Kim said, adding that Wu's visit would serve as a "strong warning" against Pyongyang. Wu did not speak to the media after the talks.
China is the isolated country's sole major ally and economic lifeline, and Beijing in February suspended all coal imports from the North in punishment for Pyongyang's latest missile test.
Speculation of an imminent nuclear test is brewing as the North marks anniversaries including the 105th birthday of its founding leader on Saturday -- sometimes celebrated with a demonstration of military might.
President Donald Trump, fresh from a missile strike on Syria that was widely interpreted as a warning to North Korea, has asked his advisors for a range of options to rein in its ambitions, a top US official said on Sunday.
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