German BND Spy Agency: North Korean Rockets Can Hit Europe
(Source: Deutsche Welle German Radio; issued March 19, 2018)
The disclosure came in a closed-door meeting Germany's foreign intelligence agency held with members of the Bundestag last week, media report. North Korea has pursued missile and nuclear programs despite UN sanctions.

North Korean rockets tipped with a nuclear warhead now have the capacity to strike Germany and central Europe, a top official with the Federal Intelligence Service (BND) told lawmakers last week, German media reported on Sunday.

In a closed-door meeting, BND Deputy Director Ole Diehl told members of parliament there is "certainty" that North Korea could now "reach Europe and Germany with its missiles," according to the Bild am Sonntag newspaper, which first reported the briefing, citing participants.

Diehl also told lawmakers that the BND considers talks between North and South Korea a positive step. There was no immediate comment from the BND in response to the media reports.

Meanwhile negotiations were set to convene in Finland between a senior North Korean official and representatives of the United States and South Korea, according to the South Korean Yonhap news agency.

Pursuing nuclear weapons

The talks are the latest in a series of diplomatic encounters ahead of a possible US-North Korea summit in May.

North Korea is pursuing its nuclear and missile programs despite sanctions imposed by the UN Security Council. Pyongyang has made no secret of its desire to develop missiles capable of striking the US mainland.

The North maintains that its programs are necessary to deter an invasion by the United States. The US denies such plans but maintains 28,500 troops in South Korea — a remnant of the Korean War, which never officially ended.

Tensions between North and South Korea have eased in recent weeks, in tune with North Korea's participation in last month's Winter Olympics in South Korea.

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