South Korea's vice foreign minister says North Korea is "in the final stages of nuclear weaponization" and is urging the international community to grasp the urgency of the threat this poses and find ways to halt its nuclear program.
Cho Hyun warned a ministerial meeting of the UN Security Council on Friday that if North Korea can put a nuclear warhead on an intercontinental ballistic missile "it will fundamentally alter the security landscape in the region and beyond."
He called for a united answer of "absolutely no" to North Korean attempts to be recognized as a nuclear-weapons state.
At the same time, Hyun said the goal must be denuclearizing the Korean Peninsula and "we should not be provoked into conflict nor should we shut the doors of dialogue and peace."
He stressed that "in our race against North Korea, we need to do more -- way, way more" to counter North Korea's "evasive tactics" to avoid UN sanctions which he said are becoming more sophisticated.
Hyun called for redoubled efforts to implement and fill in all gaps in UN sanctions in order to bring the North Koreans to the negotiating table.