NK ‘probably’ built nuclear devices to fit ballistic missiles

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North Korean leader Kim Jong-un. KCNA-Yonhap

North Korea appears to have been pushing ahead in advancing its nuclear weapons programme, a UN report has said, assuming the North has “probably developed miniaturised nuclear devices to fit into the warheads of its ballistic missiles”.

The report by an independent panel of experts monitoring UN sanctions, said several countries, which it did not identify, assess that Pyongyang’s past six nuclear tests had likely helped it build miniaturised nuclear devices, Reuters reported on Tuesday.

The North has not conducted a nuclear test since September 2017.

The interim report was submitted to the 15-member UN Security Council North Korea sanctions committee on Monday.

North Korea “is continuing its nuclear programme, including the production of highly enriched uranium and the construction of an experimental light water reactor”, the report said.

Seoul’s Unification Ministry said it had no comment on the possibility of nuclear development in the North

The report also said one country, which it did not identify, evaluated that the North “may seek to further develop miniaturisation in order to allow incorporation of technological improvements such as penetration aid packages or, potentially, to develop multiple-warhead systems”.

The report arrives as North Korean leader Kim Jong-un on July 27 said at the Sixth National Conference of War Veterans that there will be no more wars as the country’s “reliable and effective” nuclear arsenal guarantees the country’s safety and future from military threats.

He was quoted by the Chongnyon Jonwi (Youth Vanguard) daily as saying: “We have made headway along the path of self-development toward a nuclear state by triumphing over all manners of pressures and challenges and piercing through rugged hardships which would have forced others to their knees one hundred times over.

“This comes in view of the fact that we must command absolute power with which to prevent and control war so as not to relive the pain and suffering caused by the conflict in the 1950s.

“We are now able to reliably defend ourselves against all forms of high-intensity pressure and military threats by imperialist reactionaries and other hostile forces.

“Thanks to our reliable and effective self-defence nuclear deterrent, the word ‘war’ will no longer be uttered on this land, and our national security and future will be firmly guaranteed forever,” he said, as translated by The Post.

The remark appears to show Kim had no intention of giving up his weapons, as prospects for denuclearising North Korea continue to dim amid the stalled talks between Washington and Pyongyang.

THE KOREA HERALD/ASIA NEWS NETWORK