North Korean state media released photos Sunday of the new nuclear warhead the country intends to load into its new intercontinental ballistic missile.
The Nuclear Weapons Institute “recently succeeded in making a more developed nuke,” North Korean state media revealed. North Korea claims that Kim Jong-un watched as scientists loaded an “H-bomb” (hydrogen bomb) into the new Hwasong-14 ICBM, which North Korea successfully tested twice in July. Expert observers suspect that North Korea’s Hwasong-14 ICBM can strike targets across the continental U.S.
“The H-bomb, the explosive power of which is adjustable from tens kiloton to hundreds kiloton, is a multi-functional thermonuclear nuke with great destructive power which can be detonated even at high altitudes for super-powerful [Electromagnetic Pulse] EMP attack according to strategic goals,” the Korean Central News Agency reported.
The state-run media outlet claimed that all components were produced domestically, asserting that the North can produce as many thermonuclear weapons as it wants because it is not dependent on foreign imports.
North Korea announced that it had successfully tested a thermonuclear bomb in January of last year, but experts were skeptical of North Korea’s claims, as the evidence for such a test was sparse. The seismic data indicated that North Korea likely tested a boosted fission device. There is evidence, though, that the North can mount a nuclear warhead on its new ICBM, according to U.S. government defense experts.
The Defense Intelligence Agency confirmed that North Korea can miniaturize its nuclear bombs for the development of nuclear warheads in mid-August, according to The Washington Post, which gained access to a confidential report. The ability to launch even a limited nuclear strike is alarming, but the thought that the North may possess a hydrogen bomb is significantly worse.
North Korea watchers have been anticipating a sixth nuclear test, possibly thermonuclear, for quite some time. The North has reportedly completed preparations at its Punggye-ri nuclear test site for a nuclear test involving a nuclear bomb with a high explosive yield.
North Korea, according to the United Nations, can produce lithium-6, an essential ingredient for the production of tritium, which is necessary for the development of hydrogen bombs. It is unclear whether the North has made this research and development leap, but it is only a matter of time.
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