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Britain ‘preparing for war with North Korea’

The UK's new aircraft carrier, the HMS Queen Elizabeth, could be brought into service early

Loulla-Mae Eleftheriou-Smith
Monday 09 October 2017 18:43 BST
Britain are 'preparing for war with North Korea'

British defence officials have reportedly been instructed to draw up plans in preparation for potential conflict with North Korea.

The secretive communist state has conducted six nuclear tests in recent weeks and launched two missiles over Japan, increasing already fraught tensions between the US and its allies.

One military scenario could see the UK’s new aircraft carrier HMS Queen Elizabeth brought into early service, according to the Daily Mail, which originally reported the story.

HMS Queen Elizabeth - Key facts and figures

"We have plenty of ships to send – the Type-45 destroyers, the Type-23 frigates," a senior Whitehall source told the newspaper. “Britain’s new aircraft carrier could be pressed into service early if things turn south.”

News of Britain's preparedness comes days after Donald Trump took to Twitter to hint at military action against Kim Jong-un’s regime

The US leader claimed that “only one thing will work” against the pariah state.

Mr Trump also lambasted previous US presidential administrations’ for negotiating with North Korea.

"Presidents and their administrations have been talking to North Korea for 25 years," he tweeted. "Agreements made and massive amounts of money paid hasn’t worked, agreements violated before the ink was dry, making fools of US negotiators. Sorry, but only one thing will work!”

Britain’s Defense Secretary Michael Fallon has spoken in recent weeks of “intensifying” nuclear dangers from Kim Jong-un’s regime. He called the country “reckless” and backed the use of nuclear weapons as a deterrent against aggressors.

Speaking to reporters at HM Naval Base Clyde last month, Mr Fallon said: “Today the nuclear dangers are intensifying from a reckless North Korea and increasingly aggressive Russia.

“Nuclear weapons remain the only credible way to deter the most extreme dangers, reminding any aggressor that the benefits of an attack would be vastly outweighed by the consequences,” he said.

Mr Fallon met with Nato secretary general Jens Stoltenberg and other ambassadors at the UK’s submarine base in Faslane in a show of strength amid increasing tensions with Pyongyang, STV reported.

Days later the state-run Korea Central News Agency reportedly carried remarks from a spokesman for the Korea-Europe Association, claiming Mr Fallon “pigheadedly branded the DPRK’s nuclear deterrence as a threat to the UK and even dared to impugn the dignity of our supreme leadership,” adding that, “this is an act that can never be tolerated”.

Prior to the meeting in Scotland, Mr Stoltenberg said North Korea’s “reckless behaviour is a global threat and requires a global response and that of course also includes Nato”. He said the alliance is focused on how to contribute a peaceful solution.

War between North Korea and the US could now become “a real possibility” however, according to a report by a respected defence think tank.

The Royal United Services Institute (RUSI)’s report, released last month, said a war between the two countries could be triggered by either side but would not be “surgical nor short”, and claimed the UK would be left with nothing more than a few hours to make a decision about its response.

An MOD spokesperson said: "The UK has been clear that we are committed to achieving a peaceful diplomatic solution to the situation on the Korean peninsula."

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