If Pyongyang pushes ahead with a fourth nuclear test and defies the international community it can expect swift and strong punishment.
This was the gist of the South Korean foreign minister's warning to North Korea when he said the regime would pay "the heaviest price" in new sanctions.
Chairing a meeting at the UN Security Council on Wednesday, Yun Byung-se said a test would have a huge impact on the strategic landscape in Northeast Asia and would pose a serious challenge to Beijing as well.
"We must clearly warn North Korea if it challenges the international community with another nuclear test, it will be met with the most serious consequences."
At the same time, Yun stressed Seoul wants to build a peaceful and "new Korean peninsula" -- through President Park Geun-hye's reunification drive.
But Pyongyang continues to verbally attack President Park's initiatives.
The North Korean daily, Rodong shinmun, said Thursday that Park's ambition is only stirring the potential for war.
It also said the South Korean government was fooling the nation with a diabolical idea.
Meanwhile, the U.S. confirmed Wednesday that Secretary of State John Kerry met with Wang Jiarui, China's international director of the Communist Party.
Wang, considered a key messenger between China's Communist Party and North Korea's Workers' Party is believed to have discussed the possible resumption of the six-party talks on North Korea's denuclearization.
Song Ji-sun, Arirang News.