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North Korea says it has developed hydrogen bomb to suit ICBM

LiveMint logoLiveMint 03-09-2017 Kanga Kong

Seoul: North Korea claims that it now has a more-developed hydrogen nuclear weapon that can be mounted on a new intercontinental ballistic missile.

The bomb is a multi-functional thermonuclear weapon adjustable from tens of kiloton to hundreds of kiloton and can be be detonated even at high altitudes for an electromagnetic pulse attack, the state-run Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) said. North Korea last tested a nuclear device about a year ago.

The Nuclear Weapons Institute “recently succeeded in making a more developed nuke, true to the strategic intention of (its party) for bringing about a signal turn in nuclear weaponization,” KCNA said. North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, who guided work for “nuclear weaponization” during a visit to the institute, “watched a H-bomb to be loaded into new ICBM,” it reported.

Kim was also quoted as saying that North Korea can now produce as many powerful nuclear weapons “as it wants.” Kim ordered his scientists to successfully conclude the final-stage research and development to make the state nuclear-force perfect, KCNA said.

North Korea’s latest claim follows the July ICBM tests that brought Kim’s regime a step closer to achieving its aim of being able to deploy a nuclear warhead over the continental US.

On Tuesday, Pyongyang fired a missile over northern Japan into the Pacific Ocean. The Trump administration delivered mixed signals on Tuesday’s provocation, with the president dismissing the idea of negotiating with Kim’s regime while his defence chief said the US hasn’t exhausted its diplomatic options.

After suggesting that North Korea’s leader “is starting to respect us,” President Donald Trump on Wednesday returned to his tougher line. “The US has been talking to North Korea, and paying them extortion money, for 25 years. Talking is not the answer!”Trump said in a Twitter post.

The latest claim also comes as South Korea, the US, and Japan press China to impose stronger economic measures to stop Kim’s nuclear ambitions. The United Nations Security Council has unanimously voted to tighten sanctions that targeted about a third of North Korea’s $3 billion in exports.

Kim’s regime has produced a miniaturized nuclear warhead that can fit atop its missiles, surpassing a key technological hurdle, the Washington Post reported on 8 August, citing an Defence Intelligence Agency analysis completed in July. North Korea claimed it achieved that milestone after a nuclear test last year.

South Korea’s spy agency recently told lawmakers that the North remains ready to conduct its sixth nuclear test any time. It last detonated a nuclear device on 9 September—its foundation day—last year.

South Korean President Moon Jae-in offered talks to Kim in July, but North Korea hasn’t responded. Analysts say Kim wants nuclear power-to nuclear power conversation with the US without the South’s involvement.

Kim said he won’t give up his nuclear weapons and missile program until the US drops its “hostile” policies such as the military drills with South Korea that ended this week. Bloomberg

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