North Korea In ‘Final Stages Of Nuclear Weaponisation’, Says South

South Korea’s vice foreign minister issued an urgent plea about the threat from Pyongyang, warning the United Nations Security Council that North Korea was “in the final stages of nuclear weaponization”.

“It will fundamentally alter the security landscape in the region and beyond” if the North is able to equip a missile with a nuclear warhead, Cho Hyun warned.

In the past few months, North Korea has rattled the world with a series of weapons tests. It detonated a hydrogen bomb and has launched multiple ballistic missiles, saying after the latest firing that it now has the capability to attack the US mainland and had devised a missile capable of carrying “super-large heavy nuclear warhead”.

The late-November launch soared higher than any previous test, US Secretary of Defence James Mattis said, and illustrated North Korea’s determination to build missiles that can “threaten everywhere in the world”.

Continuing to defy international warnings, a top North Korean official said escalating pressure from the global community shows America is “terrified” by North Korea’s nuclear capabilities.

The nation’s ambassador to the United Nations, Ja Song Nam, called a meeting of the UN Security Council a “desperate measure plotted by the US” in response to North Korea’s displays of military might.

The Trump administration has sent mixed signals this week about its approach to North Korea’s belligerence. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson opened the door to negotiations by floating the possibility of holding talks “without preconditions”.

Other officials swiftly clarified that North Korea would need to demonstrate a willingness to throttle back its aggression before that happens, and Mr Tillerson told the UN that talks would not occur without a “sustained cessation of North Korea’s threatening behaviour”.

“North Korea must earn its way back to the table,“ Mr Tillerson said.

Mr Ja’s remarks suggested North Korea has no intention of meeting those conditions, calling his nation’s pursuit of nuclear weapons “an inevitable self-defensive measure to defend our sovereignty and rights to existence and development from the U.S. nuclear threat and blackmail.”

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