U.S. State Department spokeswoman Victoria Nuland made the comment during her media briefing Tuesday on the telephone conversation the new U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry had with his Chinese counterpart on North Korea.
She said Kerry's talk with the Chinese foreign minister was "remarkably similar" to his earlier telephone talks with the foreign ministers of Japan and South Korea.
"As I said, when he [Kerry] spoke to his Japanese counterpart, his Korean counterpart, and now his Chinese counterpart, the conversation was remarkably similar, that we are all concerned that despite the strong measures taken in [U.N. Security Council Resolution) 2087, the provocative rhetoric continues, which means that we've all got to stay unified in watching this and making absolutely clear to Pyongyang that if it takes further action, so will we," Nuland said.
North Korea, a close ally of China, has been threatening to conduct its third nuclear test despite the Security Council resolution, which tightened existing sanctions in response to the North's Dec. 12 launch of a long-range rocket in violation of the existing sanctions imposed after its first two nuclear tests in 2006 and 2009.
The isolated Communist country has called the United States its sworn enemy and blamed Washington for initiating the new U.N. resolution, although the rocket launch was widely criticized including by China.
On whether Kerry and his Chinese counterpart discussed new sanctions against North Korea if it conducted another nuclear test, Nuland said, "Well, I'm not going to go into any further detail about the conversation between the two ministers beyond saying what I said a few minutes ago, which is that conversations were remarkably similar in terms of the importance of ensuring that if we need to implement the commitments in 2087, that we will."