10/09/2017 10:09 BST | Updated 10/09/2017 10:16 BST

Chance Of An Accidental War With North Korea Is 'Extremely Great', Warns Sir Michael Fallon

The Defence Secretary spoke of the risk of a 'miscalculation'


The chances of war with North Korea because of a “miscalculation” or “accident” are “extremely great”, the Defence Secretary warned today.

Sir Michael Fallon told BBC’s The Andrew Marr Show that the rogue state is clearly increasing their programme for developing weapons, although it does not yet have a weapon which could reach the UK.

A week ago North Korea conducted its sixth – and largest – nuclear test, with experts believing the state either has, or is very close to, developing a hydrogen bomb.

The tests prompted widespread international criticism, and US Defense Secretary James Mattis warned of “a massive military response” if their was any threat to the United States, its territories or its allies.

Asked about the escalation today, Sir Michael said: “I’m very concerned about the situation in the Pacific.”

When asked if North Korea had developed a ballistic missile capable of hitting London, Sir Michael replied: “Not yet but they are clearly accelerating the missile program, the range is getting longer and longer and we have to get this programme halted because the dangers now of miscalculation or some accident triggering a response are extremely great.

“We’ve got work at this problem and bring about a diplomatic solution that stops the development of North Korea’s nuclear programme and enforces the sanctions that we have at the moment.” 

KCNA KCNA / Reuters
North Korean leader Kim Jong Un reacts during a celebration for nuclear scientists and engineers who contributed to a hydrogen bomb test, in this undated photo released by North Korea's Korean Central News Agency 

Sir Michael said the UK was working closely with the White House in order to develop a “diplomatic solution” to crisis.

“What we have to avoid at all costs is this spilling over into any kind of military conflict, so we’re working flat out at the UN to get a better resolution there, to enforce the existing sanctions, we’re looking at sanctions across the EU and of course we’re trying to persuade China to keep its neighbour in check.”