North Korea says it has capacity to miniaturize H-bomb

Published: Jan. 12, 2016 at 11:41 AM

Elizabeth Shim

SEOUL, Jan. 12 (UPI) -- North Korea said it has the capacity to miniaturize a hydrogen bomb and mount it on a long-range ballistic missile.

The statement comes less than a week after the country claimed it had successfully conducted a test of an enhanced nuclear fission device.

Pyongyang's state-controlled media outlet KCNA announced Tuesday its H-bomb test has secured peace on the Korean peninsula, adding, "We also have the completely seamless capability to mount a miniaturized, standardized hydrogen bomb on a ballistic rocket, in addition to state-of-the-art means of transporting nuclear ammunition by land, air and sea."

North Korea said in the same statement its latest nuclear test is neither a "threat" nor a "provocation" but one step toward plans to develop its economy and its weapons program.

Pyongyang also blamed U.S. "hostile policy" for its latest test, and The New York Times reported Tuesday Pyongyang addressed an "ever-growing nuclear threat" from the United States, possibly a reference to the United States' test of a B61 bomb that is part of a move toward atomic revitalization.

In response, North Korea's nuclear weapons program can only escalate, analysts say.

Chung Sung-jang, a researcher at South Korea's Sejong Institute, said he expects North Korea to conduct its fifth and even sixth nuclear tests in the future, South Korean outlet News 1 reported.

By 2019 North Korea is expected to conduct its fifth nuclear test, Chung said, adding that while the last nuclear test is hardly a "game-changer," a paradigm shift has occurred in North Korea nuclear policy.

"It has been nine years since North Korea conducted its first nuclear test," Chung said, "There is a high possibility the North could succeed in the development of a hydrogen bomb in the coming years."

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