(Reuters) - Concerns that North Korea would conduct a second nuclear test kept nerves on edge on Wednesday as Japan, faced with Chinese and Russian reservations about the scope of U.N. sanctions, pressed for a stern response to Pyongyang's defiance, reports Trend.
Japanese Foreign Minister Taro Aso told a parliamentary panel that Japan had unconfirmed information that the communist state might conduct another test on Wednesday after broadcaster NHK said Tokyo was checking reports of a tremor in North Korea.
Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, however, told the same panel Japan had no information that a test had been carried out.
Ignoring U.N. warnings, North Korea announced on Monday that it had conducted its first-ever nuclear test. It says a U.S. "threat of nuclear war and sanctions" forced its hand.
The worries about a second test came a day after North Korea's closest ally, China, joined other powers at theUnited Nations in calling for a robust reaction to the nuclear challenge.
A North Korean official based in Beijing told Yonhap news agency that strict sanctions would be tantamount to war. "The more they press us, the stronger our response will be," he said.
In Japan, a traditional target of North Korean hostility, Abe called for a strong international response.
"If North Korea does not respond to our worries and if it poses a threat to peace and stability to the world, then the international community must show with attitude and actions that North Korea will be in an even more severe position," he said.
Human Rights Watch urged that emergency food aid to the impoverished North be continued, however, saying millions of ordinary citizens could be at risk of hunger and starvation.