The North has issued weeks of shrill threats of an impending war following the imposition of U.N. sanctions in response to its third nuclear test in February. Kerry said the threats were “simply unacceptable” by any standard.
“We are all united in the fact that North Korea will not be accepted as a nuclear power,” he said.
Kerry later told U.S. businessmen in Seoul that China, as an advocate of denuclearisation, was in a position to press for a change in the North’s policy.
“The reality is that if your policy is denuclearization and it is theirs as it is ours, as it is everybody’s except the North at this moment... if that’s your policy, you’ve got to put some teeth into it,” he told the gathering.
But North Korea showed little inclination for further talks.
Rodong Sinmun, the mouthpiece of the ruling Workers’ Party, said Pyongyang would never abandon its nuclear programme.
“The DPRK will hold tighter the treasured sword, nuclear weapons,” it said, referring to the country by its official name, the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea.