TOKYO – Former U.S. Defense Secretary William Perry warned Saturday that the United States might be forced to take military action against North Korea if China and South Korea do not agree to apply “coercive action” in urging North Korea to scrap its nuclear ambitions.

At an emergency international symposium, titled “North Korean Nuclear Test and Security in East Asia,” hosted by The Yomiuri Shimbun with moderator Hajime Izumi, a professor at the University of Shizuoka, Perry and three other panelists from Japan, China and South Korea expressed pessimistic views on the outcome of six-party talks on North Korea’s nuclear programs, which are expected to resume later this year.

Zhang Liangui, a professor at the Chinese Communist Party Central Party School, said the six-party talks should stick to their original purpose of achieving a nuclear-free Korean Peninsula without giving tacit consent to North Korea being a nuclear state. Zhang also said that if China stops food and oil supplies to North Korea, Pyongyang would be seriously shaken, a scenario that China does not want to see.

Former South Korean Foreign Minister Han Sung Joo said the United States should show “patience” and resolve the issue with “a balanced use of the carrot-and-stick approach.”

While Perry said Japan, South Korea and the United States should strengthen their cooperation to tackle the issue, former Defense Agency chief Fukushiro Nukaga suggested talks should be held by Japan, the United States and China as well.

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