A senior US official in charge of North Korean affairs says North Korea could conduct its seventh nuclear test at "any time."
US Special Representative to North Korea Sung Kim spoke to reporters during a telephone news conference on Tuesday.
Kim said North Korea has obviously made the preparations for a nuclear test in Punggye-ri.
The representative said that if the North conducts a nuclear test, the US will coordinate very closely with Japan, South Korea and other partners, and respond to it.
Kim said, "We will try to be as swift as possible and make a very clear, clear response that a nuclear test is unacceptable to us and to the international community."
On May 26, the UN Security Council voted on a US-led push for more sanctions on North Korea in response to Pyongyang's frequent missile tests. But China and Russia blocked the move.
Kim said China shares with the US the "ultimate objective of the complete denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula." The representative added that Beijing has an important role to play.
He said, "It's in China's interest to make sure that North Korea refrains from actions that are destabilizing on the peninsula and beyond."