Kim Jong-un is just ‘a few months’ away from being able to send nuke-laden rockets to Europe or the US, France has warned.
French foreign minister Jean-Yves Le Drian warned North Korea had ‘set itself an objective’ to create the long-range missiles and that the ‘situation is extremely serious’.
It comes amid heightened tensions and a war of words with the US after the dictator fired a rocket over Japan.
Le Drian told RTL radio: ‘The situation is extremely serious… we see North Korea setting itself as an objective to have tomorrow or the day after missiles that can transport nuclear weapons. In a few months that will be a reality.
Kim Jong-un is just ‘a few months’ away from being able to send nuke-laden rockets to Europe or the US, France has warned
It comes amid heightened tensions and a war of words with the US after the dictator fired a rocket over Japan (pictured)
‘At that moment, when North Korea has the means to strike the United States, even Europe, but definitely Japan and China, then the situation will be explosive.’
Le Drian, who spoke to his Chinese counterpart on Thursday, said everything had to be done to ensure a latest round of United Nations sanctions was implemented and urged China, Pyongyang’s main trade partner, to do its utmost to enforce them.
‘North Korea must find the path to negotiations. It must be diplomatically active.’
It comes as Russian President Vladimir Putin warned of a ‘major conflict’ looming on the Korean Peninsula, calling for crisis talks.
Nuclear-armed North Korea on Tuesday fired a ballistic missile over Japan into the Pacific, escalating tensions over its atomic programme which have led to bellicose exchanges between Washington and Pyongyang.
Putin warned that the region was ‘on the brink of a major conflict’.
‘The problems in the region will only be solved via direct dialogue between all concerned parties, without preconditions,’ Putin said in a Kremlin statement, warning that ‘threats, pressure and insulting and militant rhetoric are a dead end.’
It comes as Russian President Vladimir Putin warned of a ‘major conflict’ looming on the Korean Peninsula, calling for crisis talks
On Tuesday, US President Donald Trump warned that ‘all options’ were back on the table after the reclusive state fired an intermediate-range Hwasong-12 missile over Japan, snubbing Washington’s bid to draw it into talks.
The launch came on the heels of two missile tests last month that appeared to bring much of the US mainland within reach, prompting Trump to threaten Pyongyang with ‘fire and fury’.
Pyongyang has also threatened to fire rockets towards the US South Pacific territory of Guam.
The UN Security Council denounced the latest missile test, unanimously demanding that Pyongyang halt its nuclear programme and ‘all related activities’.
US heavy bombers and stealth jet fighters took part in a joint live-fire drill in South Korea on Thursday, intended as a show of force against the North.
Putin called for all sides to sign on to a mediation programme drawn up by Moscow and Beijing.
He echoed comments by Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov, who in a Wednesday telephone call with his US counterpart Rex Tillerson ‘underscored… the need to refrain from any military steps that could have unpredictable consequences.’
The Russia-China plan involves a mutual pause in missile tests by North Korea as well as the joint South Korean-US military exercises by Seoul.