North Korea Says It Has Developed Hydrogen Bomb to Suit ICBM

Henrietta Brewer
September 3, 2017

South Korea is now holding a National Security Council meeting to discuss the incident, presided by President Moon Jae-in, according to South Korea's Presidential office.

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

USA officials have told Reuters that while North Korea has had parts in place for a nuclear detonation going back several months, no new activity has been seen recently at its known nuclear test site in Punggye-ri in its northeastern region.

State news agency KCNA said Kim Jong-un had visited scientists at the nuclear weapons institute and "guided the work for nuclear weaponisation".

Experts said the claim couldn't be confirmed, but it raised fears that the North may be preparing to conduct a sixth nuclear test.

The report by North Korea's official KCNA news agency comes amid heightened regional tension following Pyongyang's test launch of two ICBM-class missiles in July that potentially had a range of about 10,000 km (6,200 miles) that could hit many parts of the mainland United States.

The state news agency released pictures of leader Kim Jong-un inspecting what it said was a new hydrogen bomb.

Global experts say the North has made advances in its nuclear weapons capabilities but it is unclear if it has successfully miniaturised a nuclear weapon it can load on to a missile.

North Korea's nuclear and missile program has made huge strides since Kim rose to power following his father's death in late 2011.

It came hours after North Korea claimed that its leader has inspected a hydrogen bomb meant for a new intercontinental ballistic missile.

The White House said that President Donald Trump spoke with Prime Minister Shinzo Abe of Japan regarding "ongoing efforts to maximize pressure on North Korea". The North followed its two tests of Hwasong-14 ICBMs by threatening in August to launch a salvo of its Hwasong-12 intermediate range missiles toward the U.S. Pacific island territory of Guam.

The Trump administration has reportedly considered a preemptive strike on North Korea's nuclear facilities, but the costs of such a move have consistently been too high for previous administrations to bear.

South Korea's meteorological agency called it a "man-made" natural disaster.

The bomb's power, which state media describes as "destructive", can be detonated at higher altitudes and gives the country the ability to produce a large number of nuclear weapons, Reuters reported. Trump has been warning the Kim regime not to test him, warning on Twitter that the American military was "locked and loaded".

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