British spies joined forces with South African agents in an attempt to infiltrate the Northern Korean regime by recruiting a native "asset" close to dictator Kim Jong-un.

Leaked spy cables published by Al-Jazeera reveal MI6 had advanced plans to infiltrate the secretive government of North Korea.

The leaked spy-cables discuss "an unusual opportunity" to gain insight into North Korea's secret nuclear programme - and one which will certainly enrage its dictator.

Apparently MI6 met with a high-ranking official to make an offer of money for "a long term clandestine relationship".

"We request your support to assist our officer," said one email to South Africa about a plan to contact the North Korean "target".

The British asked South African agents to "provide covert surveillance to identify [X] on his arrival" and "securely house him whilst our officer makes contact".

"The involvement of South Africa's authorities would not be apparent to the target - our officer would appear to be acting alone," said an email.

Al-Jazeera stated the individual is named in the spy cables, but his identity has been protected.

The cable concluded: "If successful, it could greatly assist our ongoing efforts to gain coverage of North Korean proliferation activity. Many thanks for your ongoing co-operation against this important target, which we hope will increase further in future".