Boris Johnson says 'all options are on the table' over North Korea

The proximity of South Korean capital Seoul means the North 'could basically vaporise' large parts of the population even with conventional weapons, Foreign Secretary warns

Tom Peck
Sunday 03 September 2017 13:56 BST
The Foreign Secretary said the North Korean test represented a 'new order' of threat
The Foreign Secretary said the North Korean test represented a 'new order' of threat (PA)

Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson has said "all options are on the table" after North Korea's latest nuclear test.

Mr Johnson said the ramifications of the test, being able to fit a nuclear warhead to a missile would present a "new order of threat" from Kim Jong Un's regime.

He condemned the "reckless" behaviour of the North Korean government.

He added that "none of the military options are good" and urged China to put tougher economic pressure on North Korea, in seeking to bring about a resolution to the escalating crisis on the Korean peninsula.

The Foreign Secretary said that North Korea could "vaporise" large parts of neighbouring South Korea "even with conventional weapons" as he urged all parties, including Russia, Japan and China, to find a diplomatic solution.

Last night, North Korea are understood to have undergone another nuclear test, this time a hydrogen bomb several times more powerful than that which was dropped on Nagasaki in 1945.

United States President Donald Trump said on Twitter: "North Korea is a rogue nation which has become a great threat and embarrassment to China, which is trying to help but with little success. South Korea is finding, as I have told them, that their talk of appeasement with North Korea will not work, they only understand one thing!"

The test came after propaganda pictures were published of Kim examining what was said to be a nuclear warhead being fitted on to the nose of an intercontinental ballistic missile.

The Foreign Secretary said: "There is no question that this is another provocation, it is reckless, what they are doing is they seem to be moving closer towards a hydrogen bomb which, if fitted to a successful missile, would unquestionably present a new order of threat.

"We have to consider how to respond and it's our view in the UK, overwhelmingly, that peaceful diplomatic means are the best."

Asked how close the crisis was to conflict, Mr Johnson said: "It's certainly our view that none of the military options are good. It is of course right to say that all options are on the table, but we really don't see an easy military solution."

The proximity of South Korean capital Seoul meant the North "could basically vaporise" large parts of the country's population even with conventional weapons, he warned.

The Chinese government "expressed firm opposition and strong condemnation" and urged North Korea to "stop taking erroneous actions that deteriorate the situation".

But Mr Johnson urged Beijing to go further in putting economic pressure on its neighbour.

He said: "Our message to the Chinese is, and we are working ever more closely with them, we think there is more scope for you, the Chinese, to put economic pressure on the North Koreans.

"It has worked, we have seen signs in the last six months of Chinese pressure actually changing the approach of North Koreans - let's see if we can do it again."

The detonation was North Korea's sixth and most powerful nuclear test to date.

The artificial earthquake triggered by the detonation was several times stronger than from previous blasts and reportedly shook buildings in China and Russia.

The test was carried out at 12.29pm local time at the Punggye-ri site where North Korea has conducted nearly all of its past nuclear tests.

Officials in Seoul put the magnitude of the quake at 5.7 while the US Geological Survey said it was a 6.3.

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