FOREIGN AFFAIRS – NORTH KOREA NUCLEAR TEST – 10 October 2006

[The Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs (Margaret Beckett):  ... in the process of spending on its nuclear weapons programme, North Korea is effectively persecuting its own people, who are undergoing terrible suffering. That is not something for which we should be seeking to find any kind of excuse or rationale. The example that I would put forward here as relevant to North Korea is that of Libya, which gave up its nuclear weapons – and quite right, too.]

Dr Julian Lewis: I was just about to ask whether Libya had any lessons for North Korea, in the way in which Britain and the US have behaved to a country that takes a more enlightened view and changes course. Instead, may I ask whether the role of the A.Q. Khan network in supplying nuclear information to North Korea has, in the view of the Department, brought forward the ability of North Korea to carry out that test at this time

[Mrs Beckett: I apologise to the hon. Gentleman if I stole his thunder, or his line; I recognise his experience on these issues. It is hard to answer the question whether the A.Q. Khan network made an appreciable difference to the time-scale of what North Korea has been able to do. I can certainly say that the issue of that network and the supplies that it was putting out lends strength to our argument that this is something in which North Korea has been engaged for a very long time.]