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UN: North Korea 'probably' has mini nuclear warheads

August 4, 2020

North Korea probably has nuclear warhead devices to fit inside ballistic missiles. Pyongyang, which has not conducted a nuclear test in almost three years, is accused of still seeking to build an arsenal.

North Korean government photo shows a test of weapon systems
Image: picture-alliance/AP Images/KCNA

Pyongyang is pursuing a nuclear weapons program, according to an interim report submitted to the UN Security Council.

Numerous countries believe North Korea has "probably developed nuclear devices to fit into the warheads of its ballistic missiles," according to a report submitted to the UN Security Council and confirmed by news agency DPA on Tuesday.

The investigation conducted by an independent panel committee that monitors UN sanctions said the unidentified nations believed North Korea's past six nuclear tests had probably helped it establish "miniaturized nuclear devices." 

Pyongyang has not carried out a nuclear test since September 2017.

Read more: US charges North Korean nationals for breaching nuclear sanctions

"The Democratic People's Republic of Korea is continuing its nuclear program, including the production of highly enriched uranium and construction of an experimental light water reactor," the report said. "A member state assessed that the Democratic People's Republic of Korea is continuing production of nuclear weapons."

The UN report said one anonymous country determined that North Korea "may seek to further develop miniaturization in order to allow incorporation of technological improvements such as penetration aid packages or, potentially, to develop multiple-warhead systems."

Read more: Kim Jong Un — Nuclear capacity a war deterrent

North Korean leader Kim Jong Un said last week that the country's nuclear weapons would act as a deterrent for war.

"Thanks to our reliable and effective self-defense nuclear deterrence, the word war would no longer exist on this land," Kim told veterans as he marked the 67th anniversary of the end of the Korean War.

"The security and future of our state will be guaranteed forever," he said, according to state news agency KCNA.

Tensions on the Korean Peninsula went up a notch in June after a row between the two nations erupted over a marketing campaign by South Korean activists, urging North Koreans to overthrow the government.

In May, North Korean media reported that Kim Jong Un ordered his military generals to bolster the country's nuclear capabilities.

jsi/rc (dpa, Reuters)