18:27 GMT +311 December 2017
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    South Korean Foreign Minister Yun Byung-Se (File)

    South Korea Warns NK’s Nuclear Status Will be Solid in a Few Years

    © AFP 2017/ FAROUK BATICHE
    Asia & Pacific
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    Speaking at the Munich Security Conference, South Korea warned that its northern neighbor could reach a nuclear “tipping point” in just a few years. If the process is not reversed, South Korea will have to live in a state of constant fear.

    North Korea may reach solid nuclear status in a matter of a few years, Minister of Foreign Affairs of South Korea Yun Byung-se told the assembled diplomats and security experts.

    "North Korea is nearing the final stage of nuclear weaponization. In our analysis, the tipping point may be only a couple of years away. It's a ticking time bomb," he said.

    According to the minister, Pyongyang's recent ballistic missile test showed that the nation is on its way to perfecting an intercontinental ballistic missile.

    "Its missile capability is posing a direct threat to the world, including the continental US. The IRBM launch two weeks ago is surely a prelude to a nuclear-capable ICBM," he said.

    He also called for the international community to take harsh measures against the pariah state.

    "We are racing against time. If we do not reverse this process now, then this will become a game changer for all of us, and it would be like living under Pyongyang's nuclear sword of Damocles precariously dangling over our heads," he added.

    Yun excluded the possibility of negotiating with the North Korean leadership. This only leaves two viable options: either more sanctions or an all-out war. According to the South Korean top diplomat, the sanctions already imposed on North Korea are working; he did not clarify how exactly working sanctions could align with North Korea's frequent and much deplored missile and nuclear tests.

    "Over the past 20 some years since the first North Korean nuclear crisis, we have left no stone unturned. Negotiations with North Korea have led us nowhere," he said. "Dialogue for dialogue's sake with North Korea is simply buying the same horse again."

    Interestingly, it is now a known fact that North Korean missiles can reach at least 500 kilometers away. That covers the entire South Korean territory, given that the missile is launched straight from the border area.  If launched from Banghyon air base in North Pyongan province in North Korea's northwest, where the recent test launch happened, it could still penetrate deeply into the country and reach Seoul, the South Korean capital.

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    Tags:
    Nuclear weapons, threat, security, Munich Security Conference, Yun Byung-se, Democratic Republic of North Korea (DPRK), South Korea
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