Published: Sat, April 07, 2018

N.Korea FM lauds Kim for thawing inter-Korean ties

N.Korea FM lauds Kim for thawing inter-Korean ties

The report said: "We believe it is obvious to North Korea that launching such weapons would lead inescapably to devastating military consequences from the US, South Korea and other countries too".

The report, entitled Rash or Rational?: North Korea and The Threat It Poses, argues that the country has significantly stepped up its nuclear testing over the past 24 months.

The Commons defence select committee report into the country said it was a "reasonable assumption" the North could reach the United Kingdom already and that it is "almost certain" to be able to carry nuclear warheads to these shores by 2019.

Lord Howe said: "A nuclear strike capability depends on marrying up the ballistic missile with the warhead, and that is, we judge, work in progress".

MPs began gathering evidence for their report in September, around the time when Pyongyang was celebrating the "perfect success" of its sixth test with a hydrogen bomb.

North Korea tested multiple nuclear weapons and intercontinental ballistic missiles (ICBMs) late previous year.

"In any case, it is nearly certain to be able to do so within the next six to 18 months if it continues its programme at the current rate of development".

However, tensions on the peninsula have showed increasing signs of easing in recent months after the North proposed summits with the South and their "imperialist enemy" the US.

Seoul's agreement on the 2018 Inter-Korea Summit between Moon and Kim Jong Un includes a clause that states the summit will proceed regardless of a change in government, but the agreement must also receive parliamentary approval.

The MPs described Mr Kim as "ruthless but rational".

Kim's predecessors, grandfather Kim Il-sung and father Kim Jong-il, both promised not to pursue nuclear weapons but secretly maintained programs to develop them, culminating in the North's first nuclear test in 2006 under Kim Jong-il.

Some analysts have said Trump's willingness to meet Kim handed Pyongyang a diplomatic win, as the United States had insisted for years that any such summit be preceded by North Korean steps to denuclearize.

Kim has previously lashed out at Britain, and North Korea is believed to have been behind the Wannacry ransomware attack on the NHS.

Defence Committee chairman, Dr Julian Lewis MP, said North Korea also posed a cyber threat and called for more money to counter it.

And it warned North Korea might pass on its nuclear know how to other rogue states or terror groups.

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