North Korea is ready to launch a nuclear war if it feels threatened, the country’s ambassador to the UK has told Sky News.
In a rare interview, the senior official told us North Korea has nuclear weapons and is ready to use them.
“We are prepared,” he said. “That is why I say if a sparkle of a fire is made on the Korean peninsula, it will lead to a nuclear war.
“We don’t say empty words. We mean what we mean. It is not the United States that has a monopoly on nuclear weapons strikes.”
“So can I just be clear: you are telling me that the North Korea has the ability now to fire a nuclear missile?” I clarified.
“Any time, any time, yes.”
Hyun Hak-bong also hit out at allegations made against his country days after the United Nations launched yet another investigation into North Korea’s human rights record.
The diplomat was asked about allegations made to Sky News last year by North Koreans living in the South Korean capital Seoul. They claim to have been tortured and beaten in their own country.
He said: “Those allegations are based on fabricated stories by the defectors from the North.”
“Do you know the difference between human beings and animals? Human beings have a conscience and morality. If they do not have a conscience and a morality the are like nothing.
“They’re animals. That is why we call the defectors animals. They are no better than animals. They’re human scum.”
The UN will investigate reports that up to 20,000 North Koreans have been sent to Qatar to help build the 2022 World Cup facilities under inhumane conditions.
Sky News was invited to interview the Ambassador for a second year running. Like 12 months ago, the interview coincided with annual US/South Korean military exercises.
The exercises are called Foal Eagle and Key Resolve, and last a number of weeks. They involve hundreds of thousands of troops on land, sea and in the air.
America says the manoeuvres are defensive but Pyongyang believes they are a preparation for an invasion.
The ambassador claims America is “softening” North Korea before conducting “a pre-emptive strike”.
The exercises raise tensions on the peninsula but so far have not led to war. The worry is one misunderstanding could turn the situation very serious