New Forest East


Dr Julian Lewis: Despite the limited nature of the threat directly posed to Britain by North Korea, does the Secretary of State agree that the speed with which this crisis has arisen indicates how foolish we would be to downgrade our strategic nuclear deterrent in the future?

[The Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs (Mr William Hague): Yes, I absolutely agree with my hon. Friend. That would be a very serious national error. We have to bear in mind that North Korea has paraded, but not tested, a long-range missile with a claimed range of 12,000 km. That is clearly the sort of thing that it is trying to develop, and we must bear that in mind when making the decision that my hon. Friend talks about.

... Duncan Hames (LD): Given the reckless, threatening behaviour in the north, what would the Foreign Secretary say to those in South Korea who would advocate a continuous at-sea nuclear deterrent as a central plank of their future national security?

Mr Hague: Of course, the goal of international policy is to bring about the denuclearisation of the Korean peninsula, which is something the South Korean Government support, but I believe that it is very important for a country, such as ours, which has a nuclear deterrent that adds enormously to the credibility of the Western alliance, to keep it.]