Diplomat: North Korea ready to use nuclear capability

Country's ambassador to UK tells Sky News missiles carrying nuclear weapons can be deployed "anytime" if US strikes.

    Diplomat: North Korea ready to use nuclear capability
    North Korea is thought to have a handful of crude nuclear bombs and has conducted three nuclear tests since 2006 [Reuters]

    A North Korean envoy says his country has nuclear weapons and is prepared to use them any time.

    Hyun Hak Bong, North Korean ambassador to Britain, said in an interview with Sky News on Friday that his government would use the weapons in response to a nuclear attack by the US.

    "It is not the United States that has a monopoly on nuclear weapons strikes," Hyun told Sky at the country's London embassy.

    Asked if that meant North Korea, which quit the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty in 1993, had the capability to fire a nuclear missile now, he replied: "Any time, any time, yes."

    "If the United States strike us, we should strike back. We are ready for conventional war with conventional war, we are ready for nuclear war with nuclear war. We do not want war but we are not afraid of war," Hyun said.

    In a speech on March 3, Ri Su Yong, North Korean foreign minister, said his country had the power to deter an "ever-increasing nuclear threat" by the US with a pre-emptive strike if necessary.

    He also denounced military exercises staged by South Korea and the US as provocative.

    North Korea is thought to have a handful of crude nuclear bombs and has conducted three nuclear tests since 2006. But experts are divided on how far it has come in developing the technology needed to miniaturise warheads so they can be placed on missiles.

    Kim Min-seok, spokesperson for South Korea's Defence Ministry, said on Saturday that while North Korea might have advanced its technologies for miniaturising nuclear warheads so they can be installed on missiles, Seoul does not believe they have succeeded yet.

    Kim pointed out that the North has conducted only three nuclear tests so far and it is unclear how successful they were.

    A spokesperson for the US State Department declined to comment "on intelligence matters" when asked if North Korea was able to fire a nuclear missile, but said the US remained "fully prepared to deter, defend against, and respond to the threat posed by North Korea".

    SOURCE: Agencies


    YOU MIGHT ALSO LIKE

    Interactive: Take a tour through divided Jerusalem

    Interactive: Take a tour through divided Jerusalem

    Take a tour through East and West Jerusalem to see the difference in quality of life for Israelis and Palestinians.

    Stories from the sex trade

    Stories from the sex trade

    Dutch sex workers, pimps and johns share their stories.

    Inside the world of India's booming fertility industry

    Inside the world of India's booming fertility industry

    As the stigma associated with being childless persists, some elderly women in India risk it all to become mothers.