The stark warning came from Berlin as Germany’s security officials told lawmakers of Kim Jong-un’s growing missile threat. BND Deputy Director Ole Diehl said during a private meeting that he was “certain” North Korean leader Kim Jong-un could carry out the act of war. The statement was made in 2018, a year after Kim threatened the US and other nations with a nuclear strike. After a 2017 missile test, the North Korean regime said its intercontinental ballistic missile could hold a “super-large heavy nuclear warhead” that was capable of striking the “whole mainland” of the US.
The missile could have a potential range of at least 8,100 miles, “more than enough range to reach Washington DC, and in fact any part of the continental United States.” physicist David Wright wrote for the Union of Concerned Scientists at the time.
A month later, MPs in the UK made similar warnings while describing Kim as “ruthless but rational”.
The Commons’ Defence Select Committee report said North Korea will almost certainly be able to reach UK shores with an intercontinental ballistic missile within six to 18 months.
They were unsure however whether the weapons could be armed with nuclear warheads, and that such a strike is “highly unlikely”.
MPs said he could be “dissuaded from the use of nuclear weapons, by means of a policy of deterrence and containment”.
This is something that Donald Trump has tried to achieve, but the US President’s efforts have paid no dividend so far.
In February 2019, the two met in Hanoi, Vietnam, and talks initially looked promising when a reporter asked Kim whether he was considering denuclearisation.
He responded: “If I’m not willing to do that, I wouldn’t be here right now.”
However, just hours later a scheduled lunch between Trump and Kim, as well as a potential joint signing ceremony, was cancelled as talks ultimately fell flat.
Trump said at the time: “We had to walk away from that particular suggestion. We had to walk away from that.”
They also met in Stockholm last October – but the talks in Sweden broke off with the North’s envoy saying the US failed to show flexibility.
Since November 2017, Kim has overseen 11 missile tests, including 10 in 2019 alone.
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In 2017, North Korea tested 15 warheads.
In recent weeks, Kim Jong-un has been at the centre of global headlines as some reports initially suggested he had died.
After South Korea and the US claimed the North Korean leader was alive and well, Kim made his first public appearance in 21 days last week.
The country’s state controlled news agency said Kim cut a ribbon at the ceremony on Friday and those attending “burst into thunderous cheers of ‘hurrah!’ for the Supreme Leader who is commanding the all-people general march for accomplishing the great cause of prosperity”.
One expert believes Kim may be recovering from a medical setback.
Seong-wook, a professor of North Korean studies at Korea University, said of the ceremony: “Preparing desks and chairs on the stage seemed a bit rare for such an outdoor occasion.
“Kim might have some physical conditions that prevent him from standing too long and he needs to be seated after standing up for a while.”
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