North Korea has the missile capability to strike the mainland United States and would do so if America “forced their hand”, a senior insider has revealed. Park Yong-Chol, a deputy director for North Korea’s Institute for Research into National Reunification, said: “We invested a lot of money in our nuclear defence to counter the U.S. threat. “Huge sums that could have been spent in other sectors to improve our national economy. But this strategic decision was the right one.”

He added: “We’re a major power politically, ideologically and militarily. The last remaining objective is to make the DPRK a strong economic power.” He denounced a report by South Korea’s spy agency that leader Kim Jong-un had ordered the execution of 15 senior officials as “malicious slander” but acknowledged that executions took place. South Korea’s National Intelligence Service told a parliamentary committee last week Kim had ordered the 15 officials, including the vice forestry minister, to be executed for challenging his authority, and said Kim used fear and intimidation to rule the country. MORE