North Korean missile could hit NZ - Gerry Brownlee

Foreign Affairs Minister Gerry Brownlee has publicly acknowledged for the first time he's concerned North Korea could develop a missile with enough power to reach New Zealand.

"When you think about the range they're able to get now, that puts a lot of pressure on countries like Japan and China and parts of Russia," he told Newshub.

"If they ever get to a point where they can hit the continental USA, then they'll also be able to hit us."

It comes as North Korean state media, Korean Central News Agency, reports the North Korean regime is "not far away" from test-launching an intercontinental ballistic missile which could hit the United States.

"US President Donald Trump has said the world will never see North Korea reach the final stage of developing nuclear weapons that could reach the US, but recent strategic weapon tests have proved the country is not far away from testing an ICBM," an editorial said.

Mr Brownlee said that's a concern particularly because of who would be pulling the trigger - Kim Jong-un.

"This guy is irrational. He's nuts and not a sort of person that you'd want to have with a finger anywhere near the trigger of a nuclear weapon," he said. 

He also shared concern for the people of North Korea, after Newshub revealed the Government had cut a small but symbolic amount of aid funding for the country.

"It's an awful situation there, you've got a complete nutter running the place," he said.

Prime Minister Bill English said on The AM Show on Monday although the Government has no way of knowing where New Zealand's aid money is going, it had to stop.

"Bear in mind here there's millions of people in North Korea living on the edge of starvation.

"We've made a small contribution over the years… to the food and support for those people. But if there's any doubt about whether it's funding the nuclear programme, we're dealing with that by stopping the funding."

North Korean missile could hit NZ - Gerry Brownlee

The funding lasted eight years, and Mr English admits the Government never had any confirmation it was being spent appropriately.

"I don't think anyone can know hardly anything about what goes on in North Korea."

Newshub.

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