Foreign and Commonwealth Office

Written Answer to Question – North Korea: Nuclear Weapons, Foreign and Commonwealth Office, 22 November 2016

Lord Northbrook Conservative
To ask Her Majesty’s Government what assessment they have made of the future implications of continued nuclear weapons tests by North Korea on the stability of the Korean Peninsula.

Baroness Anelay of St Johns Minister of State, Deputy Speaker (Lords)
The UK condemns the recent nuclear test conducted by the Democratic Poeple’s Republic of Korea (DPRK), which is a direct violation of binding UN Security Council Resolutions. The DPRK must comply with its obligations under all relevant UN Security Council Resolutions, including abandoning all nuclear weapons and nuclear programmes in a complete, verifiable and irreversible manner. We continue to discuss further UN Security Council measures with partners.

Oral Answers to Questions – Incoming US Administration: Iran Nuclear Agreement, Foreign and Commonwealth Office, 22 November 2016

Gerald Jones Shadow Minister (Wales) 12:00 am, 22nd November 2016
What discussions he has had with the incoming US Administration on their policy on the nuclear agreement with Iran.

Boris Johnson Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs
The Government remain committed to the nuclear deal with Iran, and we look forward to working with the new Administration in the United States to ensure that it is a success.

Gerald Jones Shadow Minister (Wales)
As the Foreign Secretary may know, people sometimes say things during election campaigns that are falsehoods or exaggerations in order to win. Can he provide any assurance that that was the case when President-elect Trump called the agreement with Iran

“the worst deal ever negotiated”?

Boris Johnson Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs
I am not going to get into a commentary on the election campaign that has just taken place in the United States. All I can say is that we in this Government think that there is merit in the deal. There has been a considerable increase in trade with Iran since sanctions were lifted—a 40% increase in UK trade. Deals have recently been announced by Lotus and Vodafone, so we should be positive about our engagement and keep the thing on the road.

Liz McInnes Shadow Minister (Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs)
The agreement with Iran was hard won and hugely important both to remove the threat of Iran gaining nuclear weapons and to start a process of normalising relations with Tehran. Even those who originally opposed the deal, such as Prime Minister Netanyahu, now urge President-elect Trump not to tear it up. Can I press the Secretary of State to join those calls today and make it clear that the deal must continue to be honoured by all sides?

Boris Johnson Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs
I repeat the point that I just made. We believe in this deal. We think it is good. We are making progress. As the hon. Lady will know, we recently reopened the UK embassy in Tehran. Ambassador Nicholas Hopton is now in post and doing a very good job—although if other people want to volunteer for that post, I suppose they are always welcome to do so. He is using that opportunity to develop our relations with Tehran, which will be of increasing importance in the years ahead. That is a point that we will make to our friends in Washington and worldwide.

Written Answer to Question – Nuclear Disarmament, Foreign and Commonwealth Office, 22 November 2016

Tom Brake Liberal Democrat Spokesperson (Foreign Affairs), Liberal Democrat Chief Whip, Liberal Democrat Shadow Leader of the House of Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, what assessment he has made of the combatibility of the UN negotiations to ban nuclear weapons with the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty.

Alan Duncan Minister of State
The UK Government firmly believes that the best way to achieve a world without nuclear weapons is through gradual multilateral disarmament negotiated using a step by step approach and within the framework of the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty.

Written Answer to Question – Nuclear Disarmament: UN Resolutions, Foreign and Commonwealth Office, 21 November 2016

Tom Brake Liberal Democrat Spokesperson (Foreign Affairs), Liberal Democrat Chief Whip, Liberal Democrat Shadow Leader of the House of Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, for what reasons the UK Government voted against UN Resolution L41 which mandated the start of negotiations to ban nuclear weapons in 2017.

Alan Duncan Minister of State
Our joint Explanation of Vote with the US and France sets out our views on the resolution. The text can be found here https://www.delegfrance-cd-geneve.org/71st-UNGA-Explanations-of-vote-ion-behalf-of-the-P3-10-27-2016 on the Permanent representation of France website.

Written Answer to Question – Nuclear Weapons: Arms Control, Foreign and Commonwealth Office, 25 October 2016

Tommy Sheppard Shadow SNP Spokesperson (Cabinet Office)
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, what steps the Government has taken towards securing international agreement for the elimination of nuclear weapons in line with the Non-Proliferation Treaty; and what plans he has for further steps towards such agreement in the next 12 months.

Alan Duncan Minister of State
As stated in the 2015 Strategic Defence and Security Review, the UK is working with our international partners to tackle proliferation and to make progress on multilateral nuclear disarmament. The UK plays a leading role on disarmament verification with the US and Norway. In February 2016 the UK proposed a Programme of Work at the Conference on Disarmament in Geneva with the aim of reinvigorating the Conference’s work. The P5 Process, initiated by the UK, brings together nuclear weapons states to build trust and confidence to help create the conditions which would enable disarmament. Over the coming year we will continue to press for key steps towards multilateral disarmament, including the entry into force of the Comprehensive Nuclear Test Ban Treaty and successful negotiations on a Fissile Material Cut-off Treaty in the Conference on Disarmament.

The Government continues to work to deliver the Strategic Defence and Security Review commitment to reduce our stockpile of nuclear weapons to no more than 180 warheads by the mid 2020s.

Written Answer to Question – Nuclear Weapons: Arms Control, Foreign and Commonwealth Office, 25 October 2016

Tommy Sheppard Shadow SNP Spokesperson (Cabinet Office)
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, what the Government’s policy is on eradicating nuclear weapons through multilateral disarmament by means of the international framework provided by the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty.

Alan Duncan Minister of State
The 2015 Strategic Defence and Security Review restated the Government’s commitment to the long-term goal of a world without nuclear weapons in line with our obligations under Article VI of the Non Proliferation Treaty (NPT). We firmly believe that the best way to achieve this goal is through gradual multilateral disarmament negotiated using a step by step approach and within the framework of the NPT. The Government sees entry into force of the Comprehensive Nuclear Test Ban Treaty and successful negotiations on a Fissile Material Cut-off Treaty in the Conference on Disarmament as key steps towards multilateral disarmament.

Written Office Statement – North Korea Nuclear Test, Foreign and Commonwealth Office, 14 September 2016

Alok Sharma The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs
On 9 September North Korean state media claimed that the country had successfully conducted its fifth nuclear test at 00:30 GMT (09:00 Pyongyang). The Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty Organisation reported seismic signatures from a location close to where North Korea conducted its January nuclear test. We assess that the seismic event was caused by a nuclear test. The magnitude of this latest test was slightly larger than the one that occurred in January.

This nuclear test is a serious violation of UN Security Council resolutions 1718, 1874, 2087, 2094 and 2270. The Democratic People’s Republic of Korea’s nuclear weapon and ballistic missile programmes continue to pose a significant threat to international security and regional stability, and hinder the prospects for lasting peace on the Korean peninsula.

On 9 September the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, my Rt Hon. Friend the Member for Uxbridge and South Ruislip (Boris Johnson), issued a statement strongly condemning the nuclear test as a grave violation of UN Security Council Resolutions. The Foreign Secretary has spoken to his counterparts in Japan and Australia to discuss the nuclear test and the international response and we are in close touch with other partners, including the United States and the Republic of Korea.

The UK strongly supported the UN Security Council’s swift condemnation of this nuclear test in an emergency session on 9 September. The UN Security Council agreed that this test was a clear violation of existing Security Council Resolutions, and that there should be a robust response including immediate work on further significant measures.

I summoned the North Korean Ambassador to the Foreign and Commonwealth Office on 12 September in order to underline, in the strongest terms, the UK’s firm condemnation of this nuclear test and to make clear to North Korea that it must engage constructively with the international community or it will face an increasingly tough international response. Amid reports of widespread hardship and human rights violations, the priority must be the health and welfare of the North Korean people rather than continuation of the nuclear and ballistic missile programmes.

We continue to urge the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea to return to credible and authentic multilateral talks on its nuclear programme, to abide by its obligations under the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty, and to permit full access by the International Atomic Energy Agency.

Written Answer to Question – North Korea: Politics and Government, Foreign and Commonwealth Office, 21 June 2016

Lord Alton of Liverpool Crossbench
To ask Her Majesty’s Government what assessment they have made of the allegations of violence by the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea’s against its citizens, and its use of threats to the international community for the purpose of advancing its political cause.

Baroness Anelay of St Johns Minister of State, Deputy Speaker (Lords)
The Democratic People’s Republic of Korea’s (DPRK) arbitrary use of violence against its citizens, as documented in the UN Commission of Inquiry report, underlines the brutality of the regime and its lack of respect for basic human rights. The Government has made clear its concerns about the appalling human rights situation in North Korea, directly with the regime and in international fora, including at the UN General Assembly and the Human Rights Council.

The DPRK’s flagrant violation of UN Security Council Resolutions and its continuing provocative behaviour is a clear threat to regional stability and international security. The UN Security Council unanimously adopted Resolution 2270 on 2 March 2016 in response to the DPRK’s nuclear test of 6 January and satellite launch, using ballistic technology, of 7 February. The EU has implemented additional measures.

Written Answer to Question – North Korea: Diplomatic Service, Foreign and Commonwealth Office, 8 June 2016

Lord Alton of Liverpool Crossbench
To ask Her Majesty’s Government, further to the Written Answer by Baroness Anelay of St Johns on 5 April (HL7189), and further to the findings of the United Nations Panel of Experts and paragraph 13 of United Nations Security Council Resolution 2270, what assessment they have made of the role of personnel from the North Korean Embassy in London in nuclear proliferation activity and sanctions evasion; and whether any representations on this matter have been made to the North Korean Ambassador to the UK.

Baroness Anelay of St Johns Minister of State, Deputy Speaker (Lords)
We are concerned by the evidence in the Panel of Experts’ report that officials of the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK) continue to play key roles in facilitating trade of prohibited items. We regularly raise our concerns about the DPRK’s nuclear weapons programme and nuclear proliferation with the North Korean Embassy in London. We remind all foreign diplomatic missions in the UK to operate in accordance with their obligations under the Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations.

Written Answer to Question – Far East: Nuclear Weapons, Foreign and Commonwealth Office, 2 June 2016

Andrew Rosindell Conservative, Romford
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, what recent discussions he has had with his (a) Japanese and (b) South Korean counterparts on the development of nuclear weapons by those countries.

Hugo Swire The Minister of State, Foreign and Commonwealth Office
While the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, my Rt Hon. Friend the Member for Runnymede and Weybridge (Mr Hammond) has discussed nuclear non-proliferation issues with his Japanese and South Korean counterparts this year, the specific issue raised in the question has not arisen: in joining the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty as Non-Nuclear Weapons States, Japan and South Korea have undertaken legally binding commitments not to acquire nuclear weapons. Japan and the Republic of Korea have made clear public statements that strongly support the treaty as the cornerstone of global efforts to prevent the proliferation of nuclear weapons, to promote the safe and secure use of civil nuclear energy, and to pursue nuclear disarmament.

Written Answer to Question – China: Nuclear Power, Foreign and Commonwealth Office, 1 June 2016

George Kerevan Scottish National Party, East Lothian
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, what reports the Government has received on involvement by the China National Nuclear Corporation in the illegal supply of 5,000 ring magnets to Pakistan of a type suitable for use in gas centrifuges to enrich uranium for nuclear weapons.

Tobias Ellwood The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs
There were media reports in the mid-1990s of a transfer of 5,000 ring magnets by the China National Nuclear Corporation to Pakistan. China strongly denied government awareness or involvement. In 2004 China joined the Nuclear Suppliers Group, of which the UK is also a member, which agrees guidelines for the transfer of potentially sensitive nuclear-related technologies and material between states.

Written Answer to Question – North Korea: Nuclear Weapons, Foreign and Commonwealth Office, 31 May 2016

Andrew Rosindell Conservative, Romford
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, what recent discussions he has had with his (a) Japanese and (b) South Korean counterparts on North Korea’s nuclear weapons programme.

Hugo Swire The Minister of State, Foreign and Commonwealth Office
We have regular contact with key partners on this issue, including Japan and South Korea. The Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, my Rt Hon. Friend the Member for Runnymede and Weybridge (Mr Hammond) discussed this issue with his Japanese counterpart and others at the G7 Foreign Ministers’ meeting in Hiroshima on 11 April.

The G7 issued a joint communiqué [http://www.mofa.go.jp/files/000147440.pdf] strongly condemning the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK)’s nuclear tests and calling upon the international community to enforce the relevant UN Security Council Resolutions to respond to the clear and continuing threat to international peace and security that is posed by the DPRK’s nuclear and ballistic missile programmes.

Written Answer to Question – Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty, Foreign and Commonwealth Office, 25 May 2016

Emily Thornberry Shadow Secretary of State for Defence
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, with reference to the Answer of 10 May 2016 to Question 36136, what additional financial contributions his Department has made to projects in support of the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty in each of the last six years.

Tobias Ellwood The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs
In addition to the financial contribution the Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) has made directly to the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty, set out in answer to Question 36136, the FCO has supported a range of projects relating to the objectives of the treaty, these include conferences on issues related to the treaty, work in support of making progress towards a Middle East Weapons of Mass Destruction Free Zone, and support for the universal ratification and implementation of International Atomic Energy Agency verification standards in nuclear non-proliferation. These projects total:

FY 10/11 = £139,084

FY 11/12 = £416,884.08

FY 12/13 = £580,895.57

FY 13/14 = £313,106.97

FY 14/15 = £325,297.80

FY 15/16 = £222,158.92

Written Answer to Question – Nuclear Weapons: Proliferation, Foreign and Commonwealth Office, 10 May 2016

Emily Thornberry Shadow Secretary of State for Defence
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, what financial contributions his Department has made to the activities of (a) the International Atomic Energy Agency, (b) the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty Organisation, (c) the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty, (d) the Biological and Toxin Weapons Convention and (e) the Arms Trade Treaty in each of the last six years.

Tobias Ellwood The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs
An error has been identified in the written answer given on 05 May 2016.
The correct answer should have been:
The Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) has made the following financial contributions over the last six years.

International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) = £2,127,798.

Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty Organisation = £152,800.

Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty = £487,547.

Biological and Toxin Weapons Convention = £304,372.

Arms Trade Treaty (ATT) = £187,254.

These figures are broken down by financial year in the attached document.

Additionally over this period the FCO has contributed over £2.5 million to the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) and the OPCW-UN Joint Investigative Mechanism into the use of chemical weapons in Syria. This does not include the UK subscription which is paid by DECC.

We have also supported projects in support of these treaties and organisations. For example the FCO has funded a number of projects over the years aimed at assisting countries to sign and ratify the ATT.

Attachment to PQ36136 Yearly Breakdown (PDF Document, 83.84 KB)

Tobias Ellwood The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs
The Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) has made the following financial contributions over the last six years.

International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) = £2,127,798.

Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty Organisation = £152,800.

Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty = £487,547.

Biological and Toxin Weapons Convention = £304,372.

Arms Trade Treaty (ATT) = £187,254.

These figures are broken down by financial year in the attached document.

Additionally over this period the FCO has contributed over £2.5 million to the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) and the OPCW-UN Joint Investigative Mechanism into the use of chemical weapons in Syria. This does not include the UK subscription which is paid by DECC.

We have also supported projects in support of these treaties and organisations. For example the FCO has funded a number of projects over the years aimed at assisting countries to sign and ratify the ATT.

Attachment to PQ36136 Yearly Breakdown (PDF Document, 83.84 KB)

Written Answer to Question – Nuclear Weapons, Foreign and Commonwealth Office, 9 May 2016

Emily Thornberry Shadow Secretary of State for Defence
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, what recent discussions he has had with his counterparts in (a) other NATO member states and (b) Russia on bilateral reductions in stockpiles of non-strategic nuclear weapons; and whether such reductions were discussed at the meeting of the NATO-Russia Council in April 2016.

Tobias Ellwood The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs
Reductions in US and Russian nuclear forces have been negotiated directly between those two countries. Officials regularly discuss the implementation of those agreements, including the Intermediate Nuclear Forces agreement, with the US and other NATO partners. Nuclear weapons were not discussed at the meeting of the NATO/Russia Council held on 20 April 2016, which mainly focussed on the situation in Ukraine.

Written Answer to Question – Nuclear Weapons, Foreign and Commonwealth Office, 9 May 2016

Emily Thornberry Shadow Secretary of State for Defence
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, what recent assessment he has made of the likelihood of (a) full ratification of the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test Ban Treaty and (b) the commencement of negotiations on the proposed Fissile Material Cut-off Treaty.

Tobias Ellwood The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs
The Strategic Defence and Security Review restated that the Government sees entry into force of the Comprehensive Nuclear Test Ban Treaty and successful negotiations on a Fissile Material Cut-off Treaty as key steps towards multilateral disarmament. While we cannot predict when other States will take the decisions necessary to achieve these goals, we continue to pursue both objectives, which were strongly supported in the G7 Foreign Ministers’ declaration at their meeting in Hiroshima.

Written Answer to Question – Weapons: Proliferation, Foreign and Commonwealth Office, 5 May 2016

Emily Thornberry Shadow Secretary of State for Defence
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, what financial contributions his Department has made to the activities of (a) the International Atomic Energy Agency, (b) the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty Organisation, (c) the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty, (d) the Biological and Toxin Weapons Convention and (e) the Arms Trade Treaty in each of the last six years.

Tobias Ellwood The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs
The Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) has made the following financial contributions over the last six years.

International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) = £2,127,798.

Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty Organisation = £152,800.

Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty = £487,547.

Biological and Toxin Weapons Convention = £304,372.

Arms Trade Treaty (ATT) = £187,254.

Additionally over this period the FCO has contributed over £2.5 million to the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) and the OPCW-UN Joint Investigative Mechanism into the use of chemical weapons in Syria. This does not include the UK subscription which is paid by DECC.

We have also supported projects in support of these treaties and organisations. For example the FCO has funded a number of projects over the years aimed at assisting countries to sign and ratify the ATT.

Written Answer to Question – North Korea: Weapons, Foreign and Commonwealth Office, 1 April 2016

Lord Alton of Liverpool Crossbench
To ask Her Majesty’s Government, further to the Written Answer by the Minister of State for the Foreign and Commonwealth Office, Mr Hugo Swire, on 25 February (HC27826), whether the Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) relies upon information from the United States Department of the Treasury to ascertain which elements of the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea government fund or participate in that country’s nuclear and missile programmes; or whether the FCO conducts its own research into this matter.

Baroness Anelay of St Johns Minister of State, Deputy Speaker (Lords)
The Government works collaboratively with international partners and organisations to counter the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea’s nuclear, ballistic missile or other weapons of mass destruction-related programmes. This includes sharing information to identify persons and entities responsible for this activity in violation of UN Security Council Resolutions.

Written Answer to Question – Marshall Islands: Nuclear Disarmament, Foreign and Commonwealth Office, 1 April 2016

Baroness Miller of Chilthorne Domer Liberal Democrat
To ask Her Majesty’s Government why their representatives in the International Court of Justice on 14 March requested the Court to declare that it lacked jurisdiction over the claim brought against the UK by the Marshall Islands, or that the claim is inadmissible, and under what circumstances they believe the International Court of Justice has jurisdiction.

Baroness Anelay of St Johns Minister of State, Deputy Speaker (Lords)
The UK’s representatives requested the International Court of Justice (ICJ) to declare the case inadmissible because that was our assessment following our analysis of the Marshall Islands’ claim. The detail of the UK’s legal arguments is contained in its written preliminary objections to jurisdiction and admissibility, as filed with the Court on 15 June 2015 and oral pleadings, as delivered at the public hearings held at the Court between 9 and 16 March 2016. The question of whether the ICJ has jurisdiction in a particular set of circumstances is a matter to be determined by the Court on a case-by-case basis in light of the relevant facts.

Written Answer to Question – Nuclear Security Summit, Foreign and Commonwealth Office, 17 March 2016

Paul Flynn Labour, Newport West
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, what proposals the UK plans to take to the Nuclear Security Summit in Washington DC in March and April 2016; and whether he plans to attend that summit.

Tobias Ellwood The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs
The Prime Minister, my Rt Hon. Friend the Member for Witney (Mr Cameron) will lead the UK delegation to the Nuclear Security Summit on 31 March – 1 April. The UK National Statement and Progress Report will be published on the Summit website at the time of the Summit.

Written Answer to Question – Nuclear Weapons, Foreign and Commonwealth Office, 7 March 2016

Baroness Miller of Chilthorne Domer Liberal Democrat
To ask Her Majesty’s Government whether they will consider hosting a conference on the humanitarian consequences of nuclear war similar to those hosted by Oslo, Nayarit and Vienna.

Baroness Anelay of St Johns Minister of State, Deputy Speaker (Lords)
The UK has no plans to host such a conference.

Written Answer to Question – Nuclear Disarmament, Foreign and Commonwealth Office, 3 March 2016

Paul Flynn Labour, Newport West
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, if he will make ithis policy to assess the potential merits of the pledge by the Austrian government set out in the report by the International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons, A Pledge to Fill the Legal Gap, published in February 2015 for the work of the UN Open Ended Working Group on multilateral disarmament negotiations.

Tobias Ellwood The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs
The UK is committed to creating the conditions for a world without nuclear weapons in accordance with the goals of the Non-Proliferation Treaty, in a way that promotes international stability, and is based on the principle of undiminished security for all. The Austrian pledge to stigmatise, prohibit and eliminate nuclear weapons runs counter to the step-by-step disarmament process; and it does not take into account the current global security and stability challenges. The UN Disarmament machinery and the Non-Proliferation Treaty provide the right framework for working towards a world without nuclear weapons.

Written Answer to Question – Nuclear Disarmament, Foreign and Commonwealth Office, 2 March 2016

Baroness Miller of Chilthorne Domer Liberal Democrat
To ask Her Majesty’s Government what are their priorities for the UN Open Ended Working Group on nuclear disarmament, taking place from 22 to 26 February, and what expertise the UK can offer on issues of non-proliferation.

Baroness Anelay of St Johns Minister of State, Deputy Speaker (Lords)
The UK is not attending the Open Ended Working Group (OEWG) on nuclear disarmament in Geneva. The UK, along with the four other Non-Proliferation Treaty Nuclear Weapons States, voted against the resolution establishing the OEWG at the UN General Assembly First Committee. The Government works with international partners and various organisations to ensure that UK experience and expertise helps to tackle the threat of weapons proliferation but believes that productive results can only be ensured through a consensus-based approach that takes into account the wider global security environment.

Written Answer to Question – Nuclear Disarmament, Foreign and Commonwealth Office, 2 March 2016

Baroness Miller of Chilthorne Domer Liberal Democrat
To ask Her Majesty’s Government whether they plan to attend the UN Open Ended Working Group on nuclear disarmament which takes place from 22 to 26 February.

Baroness Anelay of St Johns Minister of State, Deputy Speaker (Lords)
The UK is not attending the Open Ended Working Group (OEWG) on nuclear disarmament in Geneva. The UK, along with the four other Non-Proliferation Treaty Nuclear Weapons States, voted against the resolution establishing the OEWG at the UN General Assembly First Committee. The Government believes that productive results can only be ensured through a consensus-based approach that takes into account the wider global security environment.

Written Ministerial Statement – North Korea: Guided Weapons, Foreign and Commonwealth Office, 17 February 2016

Lord Alton of Liverpool Crossbench
To ask Her Majesty’s Government what assessment they have made of North Korea’s rocket launch; what steps they intend to take as part of their robust response; what discussions they have had with the government of China about the possibility of tightening sanctions against North Korea; and what discussions they are having with the government of South Korea about deploying a missile defence system.

Baroness Anelay of St Johns Minister of State, Deputy Speaker (Lords)
The Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, my right Hon. Friend the Member for Runnymede and Weybridge (Mr Hammond), strongly condemned the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK)’s satellite launch of 7 February, which used ballistic missile technology in clear violation of a number of UN Security Council Resolutions. On 8 February the Minister of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, my right hon. Friend the Member for East Devon (Mr Swire), summoned the DPRK’s Ambassador to make clear the UK’s strong condemnation of the launch. The DPRK’s actions are a further threat to regional security and the stability of the Korean peninsula. It is clear that the DPRK continues to prioritise its nuclear and ballistic missile programmes over the welfare of its people.

We continue to work closely with other members of the UN Security Council to ensure significant and substantive measures are agreed in response to the DPRK’s provocations. On 8 February the Prime Minister, my right Hon. Friend the Member for Witney (Mr Cameron), and the Foreign Secretary raised this with the Chinese Ambassador and reiterated the need for progress on a new UN Resolution.

We are not part of discussions with the Republic of Korea on a missile defence system, but we respect and support our allies’ need to defend themselves.

Written Ministerial Statement – North Korea’s ballistic missile programme, Foreign and Commonwealth Office, 11 February 2016

Hugo Swire The Minister of State, Foreign and Commonwealth Office
I would like to update the House on the most recent developments on the Korean Peninsula and the action the Government is taking in response.

North Korea announced on 7 February that it had launched a satellite that morning. The launch took place at Dongchang-Ri on North Korea’s west coast. It was carried out by a satellite launch vehicle which used ballistic missile technology. As the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, my right Hon. Friend the Member for Runnymede and Weybridge (Mr Hammond), made clear in his public statement on 7 February, this latest provocation by North Korea is a clear and deliberate violation of United Nations Security Council Resolutions 1718, 1874, 2087 and 2094.

This provocation took place almost exactly a month after North Korea announced to the media that it had conducted its first hydrogen bomb test on 6 January. The Foreign Secretary updated the House on this issue on 13 January (Official Record, 13 January 2016, Cols 21WS–22WS), and our assessment remains that the size of the seismic event caused by the nuclear test, while indicative of a nuclear explosion, was not indicative of the successful test of a thermonuclear weapon (also known as a hydrogen bomb).

We support the position outlined by the UN Security Council, as expressed in their press statement of 7 February, that this launch, as well as any other launch that uses ballistic missile technology, even if characterised as a satellite or space launch, contributes to North Korea’s development of nuclear weapon delivery systems and is a serious violation of Security Council Resolutions. We are working with other UN Security Council members to adopt expeditiously a new Security Council Resolution in response to these dangerous and serious violations.

I summoned the North Korean Ambassador to the Foreign and Commonwealth Office on 8 February in order to make clear, in the strongest terms, the UK’s firm condemnation of this latest action. Our Ambassador in Pyongyang has reiterated our condemnation of the nuclear test.

In addition to the Foreign Secretary speaking to the Japanese Foreign Minister on 8 February, we remain in close touch with the US, France, South Korea, China and other partners on our respective approaches towards North Korea.

We remain deeply concerned by North Korea’s continued development of nuclear weapons and missile technology in defiance of UN resolutions and international condemnation. Amid reports of widespread hardship and human rights violations, the priority must be the health and welfare of North Korean people.

Our message to North Korea is that this behaviour is unacceptable. Due to the regime’s continued flagrant violation of UN Security Council resolutions, it now faces an increasingly robust international response.

This statement has also been made in the House of Lords: HLWS524

Written Answer to Question – NATO Countries: Political Parties, Foreign and Commonwealth Office, 4 February 2016

Jim Shannon Shadow DUP Spokesperson (Health), Shadow DUP Spokesperson (Transport), Shadow DUP Spokesperson (Equality)
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, what assessment his Department has made of the level of Russian funding for political groups in NATO member states who oppose NATO and nuclear weapons.

David Lidington The Minister for Europe
The Foreign and Commonwealth Office has made no such assessment. At the Wales Summit in 2014 all NATO Heads of State/Government reaffirmed their commitment to NATO as a nuclear alliance.

Written Answer to Question – Russia: Theatre Nuclear Weapons, Foreign and Commonwealth Office, 4 February 2016

Kevan Jones Labour, North Durham
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, what recent discussions he has had with his US counterpart on Russian violations of the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty.

Tobias Ellwood The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs
The UK is not a signatory of the Intermediate Range Nuclear Forces Treaty. The US has briefed the UK on alleged violations of the Treaty by Russia. Together with our NATO Allies, the UK has called on Russia to preserve the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty. Continuing to uphold the Treaty strengthens the security of all, including Russia.

Written Answer to Question -Nuclear Disarmament, Foreign and Commonwealth Office, 3 February 2016

Hilary Benn Shadow Foreign Secretary
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, whether the UK was represented at the recent UN working group meeting on nuclear disarmament in Geneva.

Philip Hammond Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs
The UK did not attend the recent organisational meeting for the working group established by UN General Assembly Resolution 70/33 entitled “Taking forward multilateral nuclear disarmament negotiations”. As detailed in PQ 23329, the UK, along with the four other Non-Proliferation Treaty Nuclear Weapons States, voted against this resolution. The Government believes that productive results can only be ensured through a consensus-based approach that takes into account the wider global security environment.

Written Answer to Question – Israel: Nuclear Power, Foreign and Commonwealth Office, 3 February 2016

Lord Stoddart of Swindon Independent Labour
To ask Her Majesty’s Government whether, in the light of the nuclear agreement with Iran, they plan to make representations to the government of Israel to accede to the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty and agree to the same level of inspection now accepted by Iran.

Baroness Anelay of St Johns Minister of State, Deputy Speaker (Lords)
The Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty is the cornerstone of the international nuclear non-proliferation regime and the essential foundation for the pursuit of nuclear disarmament and for peaceful uses of nuclear energy. All state parties should be pushing for universality of the treaty. In that regard, the Government continues to call on all states that are not parties to the NPT, including Israel, to accede to it, and we also continue to call on Israel to agree a full scope Comprehensive Safeguards agreement with the International Atomic Energy Agency.

Written Answer to Question – Iran: Sanctions, Foreign and Commonwealth Office, 29 January 2016

Martyn Day Scottish National Party, Linlithgow and East Falkirk
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, how much funding from UK sources is estimated to become available to Iran following the signing of the nuclear deal and sanctions relief.

Tobias Ellwood The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs
We expect that approximately £525 million of Iranian assets in the UK have been unfrozen following Implementation Day of the nuclear deal on 16 January, when the International Atomic Energy Agency reported that Iran had taken all the necessary steps to trigger the lifting of nuclear-related financial and economic sanctions against Iran.

Written Answer to Question – North Korea: Nuclear Power, Foreign and Commonwealth Office, 29 January 2016

Paul Flynn Labour, Newport West
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, what information the Government holds on whether blueprints of (a) UK Magnox reactor designs and (b) URENCO uranium enrichment plant designs have been used by North Korea to manufacture plutonium and highly enriched uranium as fissile materials for use in its nuclear warhead programme.

Hugo Swire The Minister of State, Foreign and Commonwealth Office
We remain deeply concerned by the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea’s (DPRK) development of a nuclear programme. We do not know whether the DPRK, in the development of its reactor, drew upon UK Magnox reactor designs which were made public in the 1950s and 60s. While the DPRK has made frequent public statements regarding its nuclear capabilities and WMD development, it provides little substantive information on the precise nature of those capabilities. UN Security Council Resolutions prohibit the provision of technical training, advice, services or assistance related to the manufacture of the DPRK’s nuclear-related programmes; the UK strongly supports international efforts to uphold this provision to prevent the proliferation of WMD.

Written Answer to Question – Nuclear Disarmament, Foreign and Commonwealth Office, 28 January 2016

Paul Flynn Labour, Newport West
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, what proposal the Government plans to put to the second UN open-ended working group on nuclear disarmament.

Tobias Ellwood The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs
The UK and the four other Non-Proliferation Treaty Nuclear Weapons States voted against the Resolution “Taking forward multilateral nuclear disarmament negotiations” in the UN General Assembly First Committee which established an Open Ended Working Group. The Government believes that productive results can only be ensured through a consensus-based approach that takes into account the wider global security environment.

Written Statement – Foreign Affairs Council and General Affairs Council: 18 January, Foreign and Commonwealth Office, 27 January 2016

David Lidington The Minister for Europe
My Right Honourable Friend the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs attended the Foreign Affairs Council and I attended the General Affairs Council on 18 January. The Foreign Affairs Council was chaired by the High Representative of the European Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy, Federica Mogherini, and the General Affairs Council was chaired by the Dutch Presidency. The meetings were held in Brussels.

Foreign Affairs Council

A provisional report of the meeting and Conclusions adopted can be found at:

http://www.consilium.europa.eu/en/meetings/fac/2016/01/18/

In her introductory remarks Ms Mogherini welcomed the progress that had been made on implementation of the Iranian nuclear deal and updated Ministers on the political situation in Venezuela. During the morning sessions, Ministers discussed Syria (including the London Conference) and Iraq. The Jordanian Foreign Minister joined Ministers for lunch. The afternoon concluded with discussions on Ukraine and the Middle East Peace Process.

Syria and recent developments in the region

Ms Mogherini updated Ministers on the political process in Syria, highlighting recent tensions between Saudi Arabia and Iran. The Foreign Secretary welcomed the Riyadh Conference of the Syrian opposition, and underlined the need for confidence building measures in parallel with the UN-led talks. All Member States welcomed the political progress made in the final months of 2015 but cautioned that the process was fragile. Ministers also discussed preparations for the Syria conference taking place in London on 4 February. The conference has three main objectives: to increase available funding to the most affected countries, to address the long-term economic needs of refugees in the region, and increase the protection of civilians. The Foreign Secretary underlined the need to do more for the vulnerable and displaced inside Syria and the millions of Syrian refugees in neighbouring countries.

Iraq

Ministers exchanged views on Iraq following the adoption of Conclusions at the December 2015 Foreign Affairs Council. Ms Mogherini focused on how the EU could support the domestic reform agenda and national reconciliation. The Foreign Secretary noted the recent military successes against Daesh in Sinjar and Ramadi, which had relieved some of the pressure on the Iraqi Government.

Lunch with Jordanian Foreign Minister

Over lunch, Ministers exchanged views with the Jordanian Foreign Minister, Mr Nasser Judeh, on foreign policy challenges in the region. They looked ahead to the London Syria Conference. Ms Mogherini expressed support to Jordan in the fight against Daesh and counter radicalisation.

Ukraine

Ms. Mogherini opened the discussion by underlining progress made by the Government of Ukraine on its reform programme under very difficult circumstances. She stressed the need for the EU and Member States to continue to support Ukraine. Ministers exchanged views on how this could best be achieved.

Middle East Peace Process Council Conclusions

Following discussion, the Council approved Conclusions on the Middle East Peace Process.

Ministers agreed without discussion a number of measures:

  • The Council adopted conclusions on Libya.
  • The Council adopted a regulation concerning restrictive measures in view of the situation in Libya.
  • The Council adopted the EU priorities for cooperation with the Council of Europe in 2016 – 2017.
  • The Council set a financial reference amount of EUR 14 850 000 to cover the expenditure related to the EU’s CSDP mission in Mali (EUCAP Sahel Mali between 15 January 2016 and 14 January 2017.
  • The Council adopted a decision supporting the Biological and Toxin Weapons Convention (BTWC).
  • The Council concluded that all the conditions have been met for EUNAVFOR MED Operation Sophia to implement on the High Seas UN Security Council Resolution 2240.

General Affairs Council

The General Affairs Council (GAC) on 18 January 2016 focussed on the Presidency Work Programme and preparation of the European Council on 18 and 19 February 2016.

A provisional report of the meeting and Conclusions adopted can be found at:

http://www.consilium.europa.eu/en/meetings/gac/2016/01/18/

Presidency Work Programme

The Dutch Presidency commenced on 1 January. The Dutch Foreign Minister, Bert Koenders, set out the Presidency’s programme and priorities for the current semester, and referred to his letter on improving the role of the GAC highlighting three priorities: open and inclusive dialogue at the Multiannual Financial Framework high-level conference on 28 January; continued work on Rule of Law; and implementation of the Inter-Institutional Agreement, transparency and better governance.

The Dutch programme is based on the Presidency Trio programme, developed jointly with Slovakia and Malta, but focuses on four main themes: jobs and growth; labour mobility; the Eurozone; and a Union of freedom, justice and security.

I welcomed the Presidency’s priorities, particularly those based on supporting job creation and economic growth. I also highlighted the importance of continuity of Trio programmes and looked forward to working with Estonia and Bulgaria (the UK’s Trio partners) and the current Trio to deliver real results on competitiveness, the internal market, investment, and entrenching the EU’s position at the heart of global trade.

Preparation of the February European Council

The GAC prepared the agenda for the 18 and 19 February European Council, which the Prime Minister will attend. The draft February European Council agenda covers: the UK’s EU renegotiation; migration, and economic issues.

On the UK’s EU renegotiation, I reiterated the Prime Minister’s message that what mattered more than the timing of a deal was getting the substance right.

On migration, I highlighted the UK’s role in efforts to tackle the migration crisis through chairing the upcoming Syria Conference in London; chairing the Khartoum process; supporting the action plans from the Valletta and Turkey Summits; supporting the Turkey Refugee Fund; and providing technical assistance to EU agencies.

This statement has also been made in the House of Lords: HLWS485

Written Ministerial Statement – Iran: Implementation Day, Foreign and Commonwealth Office, 19 January 2016

Philip Hammond Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs
On 15 July 2015, I made a statement to this House on the outcome of the nuclear negotiations with Iran (Official Report, column 895-896). Almost exactly six months later, I would like to take this opportunity to update the House about reaching Implementation Day of the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, or JCPoA.

On 16 January the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) verified that Iran has completed all of the steps required of it under Annex V of the JCPoA in order to trigger phased sanctions relief. To reach this point Iran has: shipped out over 12 tonnes of enriched uranium to Russia, thus significantly reducing its stockpile to below 300kg; removed over 13,000 centrifuges and associated infrastructure; and removed and made inoperable the core of the Arak plutonium reactor among other actions, a detailed list of which is included within the IAEA’s report. Implementation gives the IAEA unprecedented access to sites in Iran, so that Iran’s civil nuclear programme will operate transparently.

In return, these measures have triggered the first phase of significant UN, EU and US sanctions relief. This will begin to improve many of Iran’s commercial relations, enabling it to trade with the world and benefit economically. There will be significant opportunities for British businesses and the Government is assisting them in identifying how to benefit from these. Restrictions remain in place to prevent proliferation, and Iran’s ballistic missile programme and arms sales also continue to be sanctioned.

Under the JCPoA, Iran is required to take further steps in order to trigger additional sanctions relief. Only after a further 8 years, or when the IAEA reaches its Broader Conclusion about Iran’s nuclear programme, will the remaining sanctions on Iran be lifted. We will continue to work, with our partners in the Joint Commission, to ensure that any concerns about the implementation of the deal are appropriately addressed.

Reaching this point is an important step in improving global security. I told the House in July that the threat of an Iranian bomb was removed. Implementation of the JCPoA cements this achievement. I shall continue to inform the House of significant developments on the JCPoA throughout this Parliament.

Written Answer to Question – Nuclear Weapons, Foreign and Commonwealth Office, 19 January 2016

Paul Flynn Labour, Newport West
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, what conditions the Government considers need to be met for the UK to divest itself of nuclear weapons through international negotiations.

Tobias Ellwood The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs
The UK has a strong record on nuclear disarmament. As The Secretary of State for Defence, my right hon. Friend the Member for Sevenoaks (Mr Fallon) set out in his Written Ministerial Statement of 20 January 2015 (Official Report, column 4WS) the Government has met its commitment to implement the changes announced in the Strategic Defence and Security Review 2010 to reduce the number of operationally available warheads from fewer than 160 to no more than 120.

As set out in the recent 2015 Strategic Defence and Security Review, we consider that our nuclear deterrent is the ultimate means to deter the most extreme threats. The UK will retain a credible, continuous and effective minimum nuclear deterrent for as long as the global security situation makes it necessary.

Written Answer to Question – North Korea: Sanctions, Foreign and Commonwealth Office, 19 January 2016

Jim Cunningham Labour, Coventry South
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, what assessment he has made of the effectiveness of sanctions measures imposed on North Korea in the last five years; and if he will make a statement.

Hugo Swire The Minister of State, Foreign and Commonwealth Office
The UN and EU sanctions measures on the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK) have increased the cost and difficulty to the DPRK of its efforts to fund, supply and develop their nuclear weapons and ballistic missile programmes.

However, these sanctions regimes would be strengthened by more rigorous implementation by all UN Member States. As the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, my right hon. Friend the Member for Runnymede and Weybridge (Mr Hammond) said following the nuclear test conducted by the DPRK on the 6 January, we are working with other UN Security Council members to ensure the international community responds robustly, including immediate work on further significant measures in a new UN Security Council Resolution.

Written Answer to Question – North Korea: Nuclear Weapons, Foreign and Commonwealth Office, 14 January 2016

Jim Cunningham Labour, Coventry South
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, whether he has made representations to his North Korean counterpart on the recent nuclear weapons tests conducted in that country; and if he will make a statement.

Hugo Swire The Minister of State, Foreign and Commonwealth Office
I summoned the North Korean (DPRK) Ambassador on 7 January. During the meeting, I underlined the UK’s firm condemnation of the nuclear test which was a serious violation of UN Security Council Resolutions. I also made clear to the Ambassador that his country risked increased isolation and further action by the international community should it continue to threaten international security. I told the Ambassador that the North Korean regime should focus on feeding its people rather than regional instability.

Written Answer to Question – North Korea: Nuclear Weapons, Foreign and Commonwealth Office, 14 January 2016

Campbell Gregory Campbell Shadow DUP Spokesperson (International Development), Shadow DUP Spokesperson (Cabinet Office)
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, what steps he plans to take to establish the veracity of recent reports that the North Korean government has capacity for a hydrogen bomb making facility.

Hugo Swire The Minister of State, Foreign and Commonwealth Office
We assess that the size of the seismic event caused by the 6 January nuclear test conducted by North Korea (DPRK) was not indicative of a successful two-stage thermonuclear test (commonly known as a hydrogen bomb). However, as the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, my right hon. Friend the Member for Runnymede and Weybridge (Mr Hammond) has said in his Written Ministerial Statement on 13 January, this activity was a clear violation of four UN Security Council Resolutions, and we are working with other UN Security Council members on a further Resolution.

Written Answer to Question – North Korea: South Korea, Foreign and Commonwealth Office, 14 January 2016

Jim Shannon Shadow DUP Spokesperson (Health), Shadow DUP Spokesperson (Transport), Shadow DUP Spokesperson (Equality)
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, what involvement the UK has had in discussions relating to talks between North and South Korea.

Hugo Swire The Minister of State, Foreign and Commonwealth Office
Addressing North Korea’s reckless pursuit of nuclear weapons has always been key to improving security on the Korean Peninsula. To that end we have coordinated closely with the Republic of Korea (ROK), both in its sincere attempts to improve dialogue with the DPRK and also in responding robustly to DPRK provocations.

The UK acted swiftly in response to the DPRK’s flagrant violation of UN Security Council Resolutions following its decision to conduct a nuclear test on 6 January. The Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, my right hon. Friend the Member for Runnymede and Weybridge (Mr Hammond), was in close contact with ROK Foreign Minister Yun within hours of the test being announced.

I summoned the North Korean Ambassador (DPRK) on 7 January. During the meeting, I underlined the UK’s firm condemnation of the nuclear test which was a serious violation of UN Security Council Resolutions. I also made clear to the Ambassador that his country risked increased isolation and further action by the international community should it continue to threaten international security. I told the Ambassador that the North Korean regime should focus on feeding its people rather than regional instability.

Written Answer to Question – Iran: Nuclear Power, Foreign and Commonwealth Office, 14 January 2016

Paul Flynn Labour, Newport West
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, what assessment he has made of the implementation to date of the Joint Comprehensive Plan for Action on the Iranian nuclear programme.

Tobias Ellwood The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs
Following Adoption Day in October, Iran has been undertaking the nuclear actions required under the Joint Comprehensive Plan for Action, including recently shipping 12.5 tonnes of enriched uranium to Russia. Iran has almost completed removing the necessary 13,000 centrifuges and put plans in place to remove the core of the Arak plutonium reactor. The International Atomic Energy Agency will verify that Iran has undertaken all of the necessary steps to trigger Implementation Day.

Written Ministerial Statement – North Korean Nuclear Test, Foreign and Commonwealth Office, 14 January 2016

Philip Hammond Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs
At 0400 GMT on 6 January North Korean state media claimed that it had successfully conducted its first hydrogen bomb test at 0130 GMT. The Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty Organisation reported seismic signatures with a magnitude of 4.85, consistent with previous North Korean nuclear tests. We assess that the size of the seismic event caused by the nuclear test, while indicative of a nuclear explosion, is not indicative of the successful test of a thermonuclear weapon (also known as a hydrogen bomb); however this nuclear test is a serious violation of UN Security Council resolutions 1718, 1874, 2087 and 2094. North Korea’s nuclear and ballistic missile programme poses a significant threat to international security and regional stability. North Korea’s repeated provocations hinder the prospects for lasting peace on the Korean peninsula.

On 6 January I issued a statement strongly condemning the nuclear test as a grave breach of UN Security Council resolutions. While travelling in the region last week I spoke to my South Korean, Japanese and Chinese counterparts about the international response. I have also spoken to the US Secretary of State. The Minister of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, my right hon. Friend the Member for East Devon (Mr Swire), summoned the North Korean Ambassador to the Foreign and Commonwealth Office on 7 January in order to underline, in the strongest terms, the UK’s firm condemnation of this nuclear test and to make clear to North Korea that it can either engage constructively with the international community, or face increasing isolation and further action by the international community.

We worked to secure, and strongly support, the UN Security Council’s swift condemnation of this nuclear test in its statement following its emergency meeting on 6 January. The Security Council agreed that this North Korean nuclear test was a clear violation of existing Security Council resolutions; and that there should be a robust response including immediate work on further significant measures in a new Security Council resolution.

The UK remains deeply concerned by North Korea’s continued development of its nuclear and ballistic missile programmes. We continue to urge North Korea to return to credible and authentic multilateral talks on its nuclear programme, to abide by its obligations under the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty, and to permit full access by the International Atomic Energy Agency.

This statement has also been made in the House of Lords: HLWS455