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North Korea

Volume 451: debated on Wednesday 1 November 2006

20. To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what recent discussions she has had with the US Secretary of State on North Korea. (98368)

I have spoken to the US Secretary of State on a number of occasions over the last few months on handling North Korea, including in the wake of the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea's claimed nuclear test. We agreed that the test was a clear threat to international peace and security and that there must be a robust response from the UN Security Council.

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what recent assessment she has made of the developments in the North Korean ballistic weapons programme. (95672)

The multiple missile launches carried out by North Korea on 4 and 5 July included short range Scud, medium range No-Dong missiles, and a failed test of a Taepo-Dong II missile Intercontinental Ballistic Missile/Satellite Launch Vehicle. As a result of these missile launches, the UN Security Council adopted Resolution 1695 which demanded

“that the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea suspend all activities related to its ballistic missile programme, and in this context re-establish its pre-existing commitments to a moratorium on missile launching”.

UN Security Resolution 1718 of 14 October, following North Korea’s claimed nuclear test on 9 October, underlined that resolution. We have no new information on the development of North Korea’s missile programme, but we cannot rule out any further tests by them.

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs if she will make a statement on North Korea's nuclear programme. (98353)

North Korea's claim of a nuclear test on 9 October has only added to our concerns over its nuclear programme, which came to the fore following North Korea's expulsion of the International Atomic Energy Agency inspectors in December 2002 and its statement of intention to withdraw from the non-proliferation treaty (NPT) in January 2003. Its actions jeopardise regional stability in North-East Asia and pose a clear threat to international peace and security. We welcome the measures set out in UN Security Council Resolution (UNSCR) 1718 and we will report back to the Security Council, by 13 December, on how we intend to implement them.

North Korea's test contravenes its commitments under the NPT, breaches the North-South Joint Declaration on the Denuclearisation of the Korean Peninsula, and ignores UNSCR 1695. It also runs counter to the spirit of the September 2005 Declaration to which North Korea has signed up.

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what recent discussions she has had with her counterpart in China on North Korea's nuclear programme. (98397)

My right hon. Friend the Foreign Secretary spoke to Chinese Foreign Minister Li Zhaoxing on 9 and 13 October, following the Democratic People's Republic of Korea's nuclear test. Both agreed that the test was a threat to international peace and security and of the need for a robust response from the UN Security Council.

In addition, the Government are in regular contact with other senior members of the Chinese Government on this issue. My right hon. Friend the Prime Minister met Jia Qinglin, Chairman of the Chinese People's Political Consultative Committee, in London on 24 October. My right hon. Friend the Deputy Prime Minister met State Councillor Tang Jiaxuan in Beijing on 27 October. In both meetings, the UK and Chinese sides agreed on the importance of implementing UN Security Council Resolution 1718 and of seeking North Korea's urgent return to the six-party talks on denuclearisation of the Korean Peninsula.