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North Korea may further miniaturize bomb

  • 2016-01-07 15:00:00
  • , Yomiuri
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(Yomiuri: January 7, 2016 – p. 3)


 North Korea claimed that its hydrogen bomb test was successful—a claim met with skepticism in some quarters. Pyongyang’s announcement suggests that the country has developed not only plutonium- and uranium-enriched nuclear bombs but also hydrogen weapons, which would pose a new threat to surrounding countries.


 “When targeting the U.S. with intercontinental ballistic missiles (ICBMs), multiple independently targeted reentry vehicles (MIRVs) are needed; however, one hydrogen bomb is capable of destroying a major city,” said Senior Research Fellow Lee of South Korea’s Science and Technology Policy Institute.


 The final goal of North Korea’s nuclear development is to reduce the size of a nuclear bomb so that it is small enough to be fitted on a ballistic missile. A South Korean expert said, “The latest test might have further advanced such technology.”


 North Korea has put effort into developing ballistic missiles as well. Seoul estimates that the range of the Taepondong 2 test-launched in 2012 was about 10,000 kilometers, capable of reaching the U.S. mainland.


 The DPRK is also advancing the technology for launching missiles undetected. North Korea claimed that it successfully test-fired a submarine-launched ballistic missile in May last year. It conducted similar tests in November and December as well. The country is also improving the mobile intercontinental ballistic missile “KN-08.” Though more tests are necessary for these weapons to be operationally deployed, Japan, the U.S., and South Korea are wary of North Korea’s progress in nuclear technology development. (Abridged)

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