North Korea is less than two years away from developing missile technology that will allow it to hit targets across the UK, some British Members of Parliament have warned in a report.
The report, put together by a Commons defense select committee made up of Conservative, Labour, Scottish National Party and Democratic Unionist MPs, stated that the missile was likely to be nuclear-capable and that the UK lacked proper defenses against such threats.
“With its current rate of development, it is possible that North Korea can already strike the United Kingdom with an intercontinental ballistic missile potentially able to carry and deliver a nuclear warhead,” said the report, released Wednesday. “Within the next six to 18 months, it is almost certain to be able to achieve this capability.”
Dubbed Rash or Rational?: North Korea and The Threat It Poses, the report there was no reason for the UK to enter the ongoing standoff between North Korea and the US over Pyongyang’s missiles and nuclear weapons unless the North does something that requires reaction from Britain.
“The Ministry of Defense does not consider that the UK will be a target of North Korean nuclear missiles, as its regime does not believe the UK to be a threat,” the MPs argued.
“If there were a conflict in the region, the UK would have no legal obligation to provide military assistance. Yet, in the event of North Korean aggression against South Korea and/or against the United States, it is unlikely we would stand aside,” the report argued.
UK Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson has warned the missiles being developed by North Korea could hit Britain within six months.
The MPs said despite a significant increase in North Korea’s ballistic missile and nuclear warhead testing over the past two years, cyber-attacks originating from North Korea posed a more immediate threat to Britain.
The report probably meant malware attacks like the WannaCry ransomeware, which hit targets across the world, including the UK National Health System, last year. London and Washington blamed the attack on Pyongyang.
The committee began analyzing evidence it had received from the UK Ministry of Defense and the Foreign Office in September, months before Pyongyang agreed to de-escalate tensions on the Korean Peninsula.
North Korean leader Kim Jong-un and US President Donald Trump have agreed to hold direct talks before the end of May.
The two leaders spend the last year threatening each other with nuclear annihilation. The North even test-launched a missile that Washington confirmed was capable of reaching American soil.