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Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD)

People's Daily Online

S. Korea refutes DPRK's claim to have miniaturized nuke warheads

People's Daily Online

(Xinhua) 20:51, March 09, 2016

SEOUL, March 9 -- South Korea's defense ministry on Wednesday refuted claims by the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK) that it has successfully miniaturized nuclear warheads small enough to mount on ballistic missiles.

Seoul's defense ministry said in a statement that Pyongyang hasn't secured operational capability for miniaturized nuclear warheads and KN-08 intercontinental ballistic missiles to deliver the warheads, adding that Seoul and Washington are jointly trailing this issue in a precise manner.

The statement came after top DPRK leader Kim Jong Un said his country's nuclear warheads 'have been standardized to be fit for ballistic missiles' through miniaturization, during his field guidance on nuclear scientists and technicians, according to the DPRK's official KCNA news agency.

Pyongyang tested what it claimed was its first hydrogen bomb on Jan. 6, the fourth of its nuclear detonations. The DPRK launched a long-range rocket, which was condemned by outsiders as a disguised test of ballistic missile technology, on Feb. 7.

Many of South Korean experts estimated that Pyongyang may have advanced its technology of miniaturizing nuclear warheads given that the United States took seven years to secure it.

Seoul's defense ministry also evaluated the DPRK's significant level of such technology in its Defense White Paper published in late 2014, though it assessed that Pyongyang had yet to complete it.

Calling Kim's comments as reckless threats, the South Korean military said that the threats were an intolerable challenge to the international community which is implementing tougher new sanctions on the DPRK for its latest nuclear test and rocket launch.

The Seoul ministry said such rash acts by the DPRK only prove why strong and comprehensive sanctions by the international community are mandatory against Pyongyang, urging the DPRK to come to a path of denuclearization.

Tensions escalated on the Korean peninsula after Seoul and Washington kicked off on Monday their largest-ever joint annual war games, codenamed Key Resolve and Foal Eagle, set to run through April 30.

The DPRK threatened nuclear strikes against South Korea and the U.S. mainland in response to the spring military drills, while top DPRK leader Kim Jong Un ordered nuclear warheads to be placed always on standby for use at any time.

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