UPDATE 1 – North Korea claims development of miniaturized hydrogen bomb

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North Korea claims it has successfully developed a miniaturized hydrogen bomb which can be mounted on an intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM), state-run media reports, a significant development if proven to be true.

The announcement, carried on Sunday by the state-run Korean Central News Agency (KCNA), said North Korean leader Kim Jong Un viewed the nuclear device during a recent visit to the Nuclear Weapons Institute.

“The institute recently succeeded in making a more developed nuke, true to the strategic intention of the [Workers’ Party of Korea] for bringing about a signal turn in nuclear weaponization,” KCNA reported. “[Kim] watched an H-bomb to be loaded into new ICBM.”

North Korea conducted its fifth nuclear test in September 2016, leading to a new round of UN sanctions that aimed to impede the country’s ability to further develop nuclear weapons and ballistic missiles. Other tests took place in January 2016, 2013, 2009, and 2006.

North Korea claimed that its nuclear test in January 2016 marked the first test of a hydrogen bomb, though foreign experts have doubted those claims. Sunday’s report said last year’s test allowed North Korean scientists to develop a more advanced hydrogen bomb.

“The scientists further upgraded its technical performance at a higher ultra-modern level on the basis of precious successes made in the first H-bomb test,” KCNA said. It added that all components of the hydrogen bomb were homemade.

“The H-bomb, the explosive power of which is adjustable from tens kiloton to hundreds kiloton, is a multi-functional thermonuclear nuke with great destructive power which can be detonated even at high altitudes for super-powerful EMP attack according to strategic goals,” KCNA reported.

North Korea’s claims cannot be independently verified, but foreign observers believe that North Korea could stage a sixth nuclear test on or ahead of a major holiday on September 9, when North Korea celebrates the Day of the Foundation of the Republic.

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