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North Korea likely developed miniature nuclear devices fitting into ballistic warheads: UN report

Intercontinental ballistic missiles (ICBMs) are driven past the stand with North Korean leader Kim Jong-un (unseen) and other high ranking officials in attendance during a military parade, in Pyongyang, North Korea, on April 15, 2017. (Photo by Reuters)

A confidential United Nations (UN) report purportedly says several countries believe that North Korea may have developed “miniaturized nuclear devices to fit into the warheads of its ballistic missiles.”

The report, prepared by an independent panel of experts monitoring UN sanctions and seen by Reuters, said several countries, which it did not identify, believed Pyongyang “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.”

It said Pyongyang “is continuing its nuclear program, including the production of highly enriched uranium and construction of an experimental light water reactor.”

“A Member State assessed that the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea is continuing production of nuclear weapons,” said the report, referring to North Korea by its official name.

North Korea has conducted six nuclear tests, between 2006 and 2017. In 2018, the country suspended its nuclear and missile tests and demolished a nuclear test site as signs of goodwill in the course of diplomacy then underway with the US.

North Korean leader Kim Jong-un said at the time that Pyongyang no longer needed to conduct nuclear tests or intercontinental ballistic missile tests because it had completed its goal of developing the weapons.

The US has imposed rounds of unilateral sanctions against the North over its nuclear and missile programs since 2006.

Kim and US President Donald Trump have met three times, but diplomacy has gradually halted owing to Washington’s refusal to relieve any of the harsh sanctions in exchange for the goodwill measures by Pyongyang.

Early this year, Kim also called off two years of the moratorium on nuclear and missile tests and said Pyongyang would soon develop a “new strategic weapon.”

He said last week that his county now had “absolute might” thanks to its nuclear weapons, which he said guaranteed its security in the face of threats of war.

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