South Korea and China have agreed to work together to try to dissuade North Korea from carrying out a nuclear weapons test, a top presidential adviser said late on Friday.
Returning from a two-day visit to Beijing, South Korean President Roh Moo-Hyun's chief security adviser also said that the two countries would hold a summit on the issue, possibly in October.
"[If the North carries out a nuclear test], it would create a very serious problem with a grave dimension, much worse than the North's missile launch last month," Song Min-Soon told journalists.
"We have agreed that the two countries should continue making joint efforts to prevent such a thing from happening," he said.
Song said he had met with Chinese Foreign Minister Li Zhao-xing (李肇星) and other top officials to "review the current situation concerning the North's nuclear issue and discuss how to cooperate in order to make a breakthrough."
South Korea has stepped up monitoring of North Korea's nuclear activities amid news reports that Pyongyang may be preparing for an underground nuclear bomb test.
The US and South Korea -- both parties to stalled six-way nuclear disarmament talks with North Korea, along with China, Japan and Russia -- have issued previous warnings to Pyongyang against any nuclear tests.
Meanwhile, China has reportedly reduced shipments of crude oil to North Korea following its recent missile tests, according to a news report yesterday, in the wake of the agreement between Beijing and Seoul to prevent a possible nuclear test by Pyongyang.
South Korea's Chosun Ilbo newspaper reported that China has reduced "a significant amount" of its oil supplies to Pyongyang since the communist North conducted a series of missile launches on July 5 that have drawn UN Security Council sanctions.
The newspaper cited unnamed officials at an oil storage terminal near the Chinese border city of Dandong.
Officials could not be reached for comment yesterday.
Meanwhile, North Korea said it would not rule out a nuclear test if what it labeled a hostile US policy continues, a newspaper linked to the communist nation said yesterday, amid growing concerns that it was preparing such a move.
"We can't say for sure that North Korea will not conduct a nuclear test as part of strengthening its self-defense," said Choson Sinbo, a newspaper published in Japan by a pro-North Korean association linked to the Pyongyang regime.