Lord Hague: 'Fire and fury' threats will not stop Kim Jong Un's nuclear tests

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Former foreign secretary Lord Hague says threatening North Korea with "fire and fury" will not deter Kim Jong Un from continuing with his nuclear programme.

He was writing in the Telegraph as warships from South Korea conducted live-fire exercises at sea on Monday as Seoul continued its displays of military capability.

The United States has warned of a "massive military response" in the wake of North Korea carrying out a test on a nuclear device over the weekend which caused a 6.3-magnitude earthquake.

But Lord Hague refuted US president Donald Trump's claims that "talking is not the answer", and said the East and West should work together to defuse the threat. He also said China should be looking at whether Kim Jong Un is receiving help from abroad.

He said: "There are no sanctions that will deter him... necessary as they are to demonstrate international disapproval. Nor will threatening 'fire and fury' or saying 'talking is not the answer' as President Trump did, because Kim will calculate that the US will not start a war that could be so catastrophic all round and the stronger he gets the less likely they will be to do so."

He added: "It would be worth the White House asking China if they are doing everything possible, with their vast intelligence-gathering power in the Asia Pacific region, to find any network helping North Korea to defy the rest of the planet.

"In the absence of that, or some other initiative from Beijing to stop the progress of Kim's plans, the world will need to move from preventing his nuclear aspirations to containing them. That it will have come to this, opening up a new cold war in the East, will hold lessons for everyone... For the UK, that giving up our nuclear deterrent when proliferation happens so quickly would be utter madness.

"For the United States, that it is indeed correct to threaten massive retaliation as a deterrent. But in addition, that ruling out diplomacy would be a mistake when a paranoid young dictator is getting close to converting a yearning for his own security into a fact."

Pyongyang said Sunday's test was a hydrogen bomb meant for an intercontinental ballistic missile.

"The sixth time the world has held its breath."

Ambassador @MatthewRycroft1 condemns North Korea regime following nuclear test pic.twitter.com/wuGaTFjxEE

-- Foreign Office ???????? (@foreignoffice) September 4, 2017

Writing in the Mirror, fellow former foreign secretary Lord David Owen said "the world faces a very grave situation over what to do to contain the Korean dictatorship".

He said: "If Chinese diplomacy cannot change the mind of the Korean leader, what will short of force? Perhaps initially using the Massive Ordnance Air Blast bombs on all nuclear sites will suffice, leaving nuclear bombs as a last resort only if South Korea is attacked.

"These MOAB bombs (also known as Mother of All Bombs) were used for the first time ever in April against an Isis cave complex in Afghanistan. It is an horrendous choice the US is facing."