Photo/IllutrationForeign Minister Taro Kono (Asahi Shimbun file photo)

Foreign Minister Taro Kono got a scathing reaction from the international community over his call to not be taken in by North Korea's latest charm offensive.

Kono insists that North Korea is gearing up for a seventh nuclear test, but his warning has fallen on deaf ears.

“(North Korea) is working hard for its next nuclear test,” Kono asserted in a lecture he gave in Kochi on March 31.

On April 2, 38 North, a website operated by Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies that is devoted to analysis about North Korea, posted an article dismissing Kono’s contention based on current activity at the nuclear test site.

“Commercial satellite imagery from March 23 shows quite a different picture: namely, that activity at the Punggye-ri test site has been significantly reduced compared to previous months,” the article says.

Kono did not share his source of information on North Korea's supposed test preparations.

However, he stuck to his guns April 3 and after a Cabinet meeting told reporters, "Given the information available, it is clear that activity is continuing at (North Korean) nuclear-related facilities, including the test site.”

The same day, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Geng Shuang expressed frustration over Kono’s remark during a news conference.

“We don’t want anything to spoil things in the middle of our endeavors to solve issues in the Korean Peninsula through dialogue,” said Geng.

In the same conference, Geng conceded that Japan got the "cold shoulder” from other nations with regard to recent developments concerning North Korea, noting that diplomatic exchanges with Pyongyang have started in earnest.