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North Korea researcher sees no ICBM threat

Feb. 14, 2013 at 10:37 AM
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WASHINGTON, Feb. 14 (UPI) -- North Korea likely has the ability to mount a nuclear warhead on its 800-mile range Nodong missile, researchers at Johns Hopkins University said.

North Korea conducted its third underground nuclear test Tuesday. The device was said to be physically smaller but more powerful than those tested in 2006 and 2009.

Blog 38 North, an arm of the U.S.-Korea Institute at Johns Hopkins University, states that North Korea likely has the ability to mount a plutonium-based nuclear warhead on its 800-mile range Nodong missile.

North Korea in December orbited a satellite using a rocket with a range that put the western U.S. coast within reach. Pyongyang notified Washington of its intent to conduct the Tuesday test. The North Korean government said it was part of an anti-U.S. campaign.

The Johns Hopkins analysis, however, states that North Korea doesn't have the ability to deploy a nuclear warhead on an intercontinental ballistic missile.

"However, with additional effort and time, North Korea will likely succeed in developing such a warhead, too," it said.

The Yonhap news agency in South Korea states that Pyongyang, since Tuesday's test, has started linking its nuclear program to the economy.

Victoria Nuland, a spokeswoman for the U.S. State Department, said the test would do nothing but isolate North Korea further.

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