'Iran, Russia helping North Korea's nuclear capabilities,' UK officials fear
Iran may be playing a role in North Korea's sudden advancement in developing nuclear weapons, UK political officials have speculated.
The UK foreign office is currently investigating whether "current and former nuclear states" helped Kim Jong-un in his drive to mount nuclear warheads onto missiles.
UK Foreign Minister Boris Johnson hinted at his department's concerns last week as he took questions from MPs about the North Korean escalation.
"There is currently an investigation into exactly how the country has managed to make this leap in technological ability," Johnson said.
"We are looking at the possible role that may have been played, inadvertently or otherwise, by some current and former nuclear states," he added.
Johnson refusing to mention which states are suspected of aiding Pyongyang.
Senior Whitehall sources have told UK newspaper The Sunday Telegraph that the thought of North Korean scientists advancing their own nuclear capabilities alone is incomprehensible.
But they added that Iran is the top suspect country, with Russia runner-up.
"North Korean scientists are people of some ability, but clearly they're not doing it entirely in a vacuum," said one government minister.
Another source, responsible for helping to shape foreign policy told The Sunday Telegraph "for them to have done this entirely on their own stretches the bounds of credulity".
North Korea has test fired a so-called hydrogen bomb and long-range missiles in recent weeks, alarming the world about this huge leap in the hermit kingdom's capabilities.