North Korea’s ambassador to the UK, Hyun Hak-bong, has said that his country is ready “anytime” to launch nuclear missiles. Asked if they would be prepared to “press the button first” rather than wait until the US makes the first strike, he said: “We are peace-loving people. We do not want war. But we are not afraid of war. This is our policy of the government.”
Mr Hak-bong also called defectors who have escaped from North Korea “human scum” and “animals” while the United Nations Security Council launches another investigation into the country’s human rights record.
Hak-bong said: “Those allegations are based on fabricated stories by the defectors from the North. “Do you know the difference between human beings and animals? Human beings have a conscience and morality. If they do not have a conscience and a morality, they are like nothing. … They’re animals. That is why we call the defectors animals. They are no better than animals. They’re human scum.”
Around 70 per cent of defectors who have settled in South Korea since 1998 are women in their 30s. The majority leave due to economic difficulties and the want of freedom.
Men often cite life-threatening situations, dislike of the government and persecution by the state as reasons to escape the country, according to South Korea government data.