Ex-UN chief ‘worried’ as he shares fears over North Korea’s nuke plans

Former UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon has told the Daily Express he is “worried” by reports North Korea “soon may test another nuclear weapon” as it ramps up its arms production.

The former minister of foreign affairs for South Korea said in such an event the UN Security Council “must be united and condemn this, and prevent all irresponsible, provocative actions by North Korea”.

Last week, the secretive nation’s despot leader Kim Jong Un demanded “rapidly expanding production capacity” during a tour of his country’s weapons factories

Kim also stressed the modernisation of small arms was “the most important and urgent matter in making war preparations… in keeping with the changed aspect of war”, state media agency KCNA reported.

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Speaking to the Express in South Korea’s North Jeolla Province last Thursday, diplomat Ban branded North Korea “irresponsible” for testing a record number of missiles last year – almost 70 in total – some with intercontinental range abilities.

He said: “Even though they have not joined the NPT [The Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons], there is a clear international legal system that there should be no nuclear tests.

“I’m worried that reports suggest that North Korea soon may test another nuclear weapon.

“In such a case, the UN Security Council must be united and condemn this and prevent all irresponsible, provocative actions by North Korea.”

During the same conversation, Ban blasted US soldier Travis King as “very irresponsible” for sprinting across the border into North Korea yet warned he “must be returned at any cost and by [sic] any reason”.

The 23-year-old was detained by Kim Jong-Un’s totalitarian state after he “wilfully, of his own volition” crossed the Demilitarised Zone from South Korea during a guided tour last month.

The US has declined to classify the army soldier as a prisoner of war, sparking a diplomatic crisis that leaves his future in jeopardy.
Prior to his border dash, Private 2nd Class King was detained in Seoul after being accused of punching a man in a nightclub. He was due to face military discipline on his return to the US.

Ban, the eighth Secretary-General of the United Nations between 2007 and 2016, said he was “deeply worried” about Mr King’s detainment at a time of increasing provocation from North Korea.

He added: “There is no reason for North Korea to keep this kind of irresponsible person, there is no merit for them. So he should be returned.”

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