In Brief

Britain ‘preparing a battle plan’ for North Korean war

Trump says ‘only one thing will work’ with Kim Jong Un’s regime

Britain may deploy its new £3bn aircraft carrier HMS Queen Elizabeth and 12 F-35B fighter jets as part of a North Korean battle plan being drawn up by the Armed Forces, according to the Daily Mail

Under one scenario, Britain’s 65,000-tonne carrier, with a crew of 700, could be escorted by Type 45 destroyers and Type 23 frigates to join US warships in the Korean peninsula, reports Larisa Brown, the newspaper’s defence and security editor. 

An unnamed senior Whitehall source is quoted as saying: “We have plenty of ships to send… the Type 45 destroyers, the Type 23 frigates. Britain’s new aircraft carrier could be pressed into service early if things turn south.”

North Korea is being closely watched amid fears it could launch another long-range missile test tomorrow to mark the anniversary of the founding of its ruling party, says The Daily Telegraph

Although British ministers weren’t commenting on the UK’s possible military strategy, planners are reportedly considering tactics similar to those used in the Falklands.

Details of Britain’s battle plan emerged after Donald Trump tweeted on Saturday that 25 years of agreements with North Korea have failed,  “making fools” of US negotiators. The US president cryptically added that “only one thing will work” when it comes to dealing with Kim Jong Un’s regime, reports the CNN website.

According to the Telegraph, Trump’s comments “seemed to be a further suggestion that military action was on his mind”, although the president did not clarify his tweet.

In September, the US military and Nato led a “huge” military exercise off the coast of Scotland, featuring more than 3,000 troops, 14 ships and ten fighter jets, to practise intercepting and shooting down missiles as the threat of war with North Korea intensified.

Defence Secretary Michael Fallon has said that Britain is at the forefront of the international response to the “growing threat” and that Britain is at risk from Pyongyang’s long-range nuclear missile programme, noting that London is closer to North Korea than Los Angeles.

While HMS Queen Elizabeth could carry up to 40 fighter jets and helicopters at full strength, it currently has none of those aircraft on deck, Business Insider reports. The website says the UK has 11 F-35 Lightning II jets in the US and expects to have fighter jets flying off the Queen Elizabeth and her sister ship, the Prince of Wales, by 2020.

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