Koreas holds preparatory talks to set up Kim-Moon summit

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North Korea is nearly certain to complete development within 18 months of ballistic missiles capable of reaching the United Kingdom, according to a Commons defence select committee report.

The North's diplomatic outreach comes after an unusually provocative year in which it conducted its most powerful nuclear test to date and test-launched three intercontinental ballistic missiles created to target the US mainland. Instead, the USA and South Korea are said to be the main focus of North Korea's military threats.

"The focus of the talks is likely to be about security matters and how Kim Jong-un will smoothly and safely cross the border - how the South and North's respective secret service will handle the situation needs to be discussed" said Hong Min, director of the North Korean studies division at the Korea Institute for National Unification.

MPs began gathering evidence for their report in September, around the time when Pyongyang was celebrating the "perfect success" of its sixth test with a hydrogen bomb.


North Korea tested multiple nuclear weapons and intercontinental ballistic missiles (ICBMs) late a year ago. -North Korea summit with U.S. President Donald Trump. "Our judgment is that it will probably be six to 18 months before they have an ICBM capability that is capable of reaching the coast of the United States or indeed ourselves".

The two Koreas held working-level talks at the truce village of Panmunjeom on Thursday to discuss security measures, protocols and media coverage for their upcoming summit.

Months of chill between Beijing and Pyongyang appeared to suddenly vanish during Mr Kim's secretive visit, with China saying that Mr Kim had pledged his commitment to denuclearisation.

Kim's predecessors, grandfather Kim Il-sung and father Kim Jong-il, both promised not to pursue nuclear weapons but secretly maintained programs to develop them, culminating in the North's first nuclear test in 2006 under Kim Jong-il.


However, they warned that despite the recent diplomatic thaw, North Korea is unlikely to abandon its weapon programme.

This dire warning comes as 330,000 troops carry out war games near North Korea in war drills jointly held by the USA and South Korea.

Kim has previously lashed out at Britain, and North Korea is believed to have been behind the Wannacry ransomware attack on the NHS.

The select committee report also covers the cyber threat posed by North Korea after the Wannacry attack by Kim's hackers.


"North Korea has shown an utter lack of concern about who gets hurt by such attacks".

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