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Korea: Nuclear Weapons

Question for Ministry of Defence

UIN 102631, tabled on 12 January 2022

To ask the Secretary of State for Defence, what steps he is taking to assist South Korea with tackling North Korea's development of nuclear and missile technology.

Answered on

20 January 2022

The UK is committed to securing peace on the Korean peninsula and the dismantlement of North Korea’s nuclear and weapons programmes. As a permanent member of the United Nations Security Council (UNSC), a signatory of the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty and a responsible member of the international community we support actions aimed at encouraging North Korea to take concrete steps toward complete, verifiable and irreversible denuclearisation.

The UK frequently works with the Republic of Korea, the United States and other partners towards this end. We are a permanent member of the United Nations Military Armistice Committee and in 2022 are increasing the number of UK personnel within the United Nations Command Korea, including providing the next 3* General Deputy-Commander.

We contribute approximately 20 personnel to the biannual Republic of Korea-led Combined Command Post Training, where the command functions of a multinational response to crises are practiced, and work to improve readiness in the event of a breakdown of Armistice conditions.

The UK also supports the UNSC Resolutions aimed at preventing the proliferation of North Korea’s weapons and nuclear programmes, and conducts sanctions enforcement deployments aimed at preventing the illegal supply, sale, transfer or exports of goods by North Korea. During the UK’s Carrier Strike Group (CSG-21) deployment to the Indo-Pacific last year, HMS RICHMOND performed a maritime monitoring mission, and in early 2022 HMS TAMAR has conducted a similar mission.

We believe these sanctions, which are not aimed at the North Korean people, are the most effective method of addressing North Korea’s weapons and nuclear programmes, and we support efforts made by the Republic of Korea and the US to engage diplomatically.

We urge North Korea to refrain from further provocations. Alongside our allies and partners, the UK is committed to peace on the Korean Peninsula, upholding the rules-based international system and securing an end to North Korea’s unlawful activities. We strongly encourage North Korea to return to dialogue.