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South Korea fires warning shots at suspected North Korea drone

A suspected North Korean drone was fired at by South Korean forces after crossing the countries' militarized border. Seoul has called on China to take "necessary actions" against Pyongyang's latest nuclear test.

South Korea's defense ministry said on Wednesday that troops fired at a suspected North Korean drone after it made a brief incursion into the South's airspace, marking a rare encounter at the world's most heavily armed border.

The ministry added that the shots did not hit the drone, and that it promptly returned to the northern side of the border after encountering the warning.

The engagement comes amid increased scrutiny of North Korea after state media announced that Pyongyang conducted a successful test of a miniaturized hydrogen bomb on January 6, prompting Seoul to recommence high-decibel cross-border propaganda.

However, Pyongyang's claims have been downplayed by experts, who said the yield was too low for a thermonuclear weapon.

Earlier Wednesday, South Korean President Park Geun-Hye called for "punitive actions" against the North following the nuclear test, saying it was an "unacceptable challenge" to the globe's security.

China's 'necessary actions'

Park also warned China - Pyongyang's main ally and economic benefactor - that inaction on behalf of Beijing would likely lead to another nuclear test.

"I believe China is aware that if its strong determination is not put into actual, necessary actions, we will not be able to prevent a fifth or sixth nuclear test," Park said, referring to the North's four previous tests in 2006, 2009, 2013 and 2016.

Sung Kim, the US special envoy for North Korea, iterated similar sentiments after meeting with his South Korean and Japanese counterparts on Wednesday.

"I think the Chinese will agree with us that the only way we can send a clear message to Pyongyang is to adopt strong international measures," Sung Kim told reporters.

Meanwhile, a spokesman for the Chinese foreign ministry said on Wednesday that Beijing will work with all interested parties to resolve the issue through dialogue in order to achieve "durable peace" in the region.

ls/jil (AFP, AP, Reuters)