North Korea (Hansard, 21 January 2003)
HC Deb 21 January 2003 vol 398 cc221-2W
16. Paddy Tipping

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what steps he is taking to seek a change of nuclear policy by the Government of North Korea. [91799]

Mr. Rammell

My right hon. Friend the Foreign Secretary made a statement to the press deploring North Korea's stated intention to withdraw from the nonproliferation treaty on 10 January and has made representations to the North Korean Government through the Embassy in Pyongyang, in addition to holding regular discussions with key international partners on this issue.

Mr. Gordon Prentice

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what discussions he has initiated with his counterparts in the UN Security Council concerning the withdrawal of North Korea from the Non-Proliferation Treaty; and if he will make a statement. [91564]

Mr. Rammell

My right hon. Friend the Foreign Secretary has held bilateral discussions on this issue with a number of UN Security Council (UNSC) colleagues. We also expect the UN Security Council to discuss it.

The Foreign Secretary issued a press statement 10 January expressing his deep concern about North Korea's recent actions. We subsequently delivered a similar message to the North Korean Government through our Embassy in Pyongyang. We also protested to the DPRK chargÉ d'affairs in London.

Mr. Gordon Prentice

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what steps he has taken to normalise relations with North Korea since establishing diplomatic relations with it. [91565]

Mr. Rammell

Diplomatic relations between the UK and the Democratic People's Republic of Korea were established in December 2000, and the British Embassy in Pyongyang opened on 30 July 2001. This established a channel of communication which has allowed us to address the North Korean authorities directly on issues of international concern, such as non-proliferation and human rights.

Mr. Gordon Prentice

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs whether North Korea possesses nuclear weapons; and if he will make a statement. [91566]

Mr. Rammell

We have no hard evidence that the North Koreans have produced nuclear weapons, but we assess that they have sufficient fissile material for one or two nuclear weapons, and the technical capability to produce them. In October 2002, North Korean Government officials admitted to the visiting US Assistant Secretary of State, James Kelly, that North Korea had been pursuing a secret uranium enrichment programme. If North Korea begins to re-process the spent fuel rods at Yongbyon, it is possible that they could be used to produce nuclear warheads within a matter of months.

Mr. Gordon Prentice

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what assessment he has made of the countries to which missile technology has been exported by North Korea; and if he will make a statement. [91865]

Mr. Mike O'Brien

North Korea is the world's biggest supplier of ballistic missiles and related technology to countries of concern. Missiles are North Korea's most significant export and, by channelling profits back into the programme, an almost self-sustaining missile industry has been developed, supporting the requirements of both the domestic programme and the export market. North Korea has provided No Dong missile technology to Iran and Pakistan, enabling them to acquire their own versions. SCUD technology is also available for export, and has been sold to Iran, Syria, Egypt, Libya, UAE and Yemen. Over the last 15 years North Korea has exported at least 400 missiles

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