LONDON — A North Korean envoy says his country has developed nuclear missiles and is prepared to use them at any time.
North Korean Ambassador to Britain Hyun Hak Bong said in a recent interview with British broadcaster Sky News that his government would use the missiles in response to a nuclear attack by the United States.
Asked whether North Korea has the ability now to launch a nuclear missile, Hyun replied, “Any time. Any time. Yes.”
“If the United States strike us we should strike back,” he said.
Asked if North Korea would only fire nuclear missiles in retaliation, Hyun replied, “We are a peace-loving people you know. We don’t want war but we are not afraid of war. This is our policy of the government.”
North Korea is thought to have a handful of crude nuclear bombs and has conducted three nuclear tests since 2006. But experts are divided on how far it has come in developing the technology needed to miniaturize warheads so they can be placed on missiles.
The Washington-based Institute for Science and International Security recently estimated that North Korea currently has between 10 and 16 nuclear weapons, some based on plutonium, others on uranium. It concluded that North Korea already has plutonium-based weapons small enough to mount on medium-range and intercontinental-range missiles.
The United Nations has imposed sanctions on North Korea over its nuclear and missile programs.