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Posted: August 08, 2017

North Korea has reportedly miniaturized nuclear weapons: 5 things to know


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North Korea has reportedly miniaturized nuclear weapons: 5 things to know
In this handout photo released by the South Korean Defense Ministry, U.S. Army Tactical Missile System (ATACMS) firing a missile into the East Sea during a South Korea-U.S. joint missile drill aimed to counter North Korea's ICBM test on July 29, 2017 in East Coast, South Korea. North Korea launched another test missile, believed to be an Inter Continental Ballistic Missile (ICBM), which travelled 45 minutes before splashing down in the Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) of Japan. (Photo by South Korean Defense Ministry via Getty Images)

By Theresa Seiger, Cox Media Group National Content Desk

Intelligence officials believe North Korea has produced a nuclear warhead small enough to fit inside its missiles, The Washington Post reported Tuesday, citing an unreleased report from the Defense Intelligence Agency.

>> Read more trending news

That would mean North Korea has passed a crucial threshold on the path to becoming a full-fledged nuclear power.

Here’s what you need to know about North Korea and nuclear threat:

Nuclear weapons small enough to fit onto intercontinental ballistic missiles

The confidential DIA assessment, which was dated July 28, was partially read to the Post. Its contents were verified by a pair of unidentified U.S. officials familiar with the document.

 >> Related: What is an ICBM and why should we be worried at North Korea has one? 

“The (intelligence community) assesses North Korea has produced nuclear weapons for ballistic missile delivery, to include delivery by ICBM-class missiles,” an excerpt of the assessment said, according to the newspaper.

Officials believed that it would still be years before North Korean scientists were able to design warheads compact enough to be delivered by missile, according to the Post

Tension mounts between North Korea, U.S.

President Donald Trump reacted within hours of the Post report, telling reporters gathered for a photo op at his Bedminster, New Jersey golf course that any threats made against the United States would be met with “fire and fury like the world has never seen.”

He said that North Korean leader Kim Jong-un “has been very threatening.”

"As I said, they will be met with fire, fury and frankly, power -- the likes of which this world has never seen before,” Trump said.

Japanese assessment says miniaturization ‘possible’

An annual white paper released Tuesday by Japan’s Defense Ministry determined that “it is possible that North Korea has achieved the miniaturization of nuclear weapons and has developed nuclear warheads,” according to The Associated Press.

Japan, a key U.S. ally, is also a potential target of North Korean aggression.

North Korea claimed it launched its first ICBM in July

Pyongyang claimed in July that officials had successfully launched an ICBM for the first time, in spite of a United Nations ban. Such missiles can carry a warhead over more than 3,400 miles through air and space.

>> Related: North Korea fires intercontinental ballistic missile, Pentagon says 

As of Aug. 8, North Korea has conducted 14 missile tests this year.

Missile tested last month could reach U.S.

The North Korean Hwasong-14/KN20 intercontinental ballistic missile fired last by North Korea could have the range to reach Washington, D.C., or New York City, according to thediplomat.com, while other sources estimated it could hit Chicago or Denver.

>> Related: Reports: Latest North Korean missile could reach Chicago, East Coast

The website, citing sources in the U.S. government, said based on the missile’s flight time and it’s 3,700 mile-high apogee, it showed a vast improvement from the test of the missile in early July, and could reach as far as Washington, D.C., while carrying a nuclear warhead.

The Associated Press and the Dayton Daily News contributed to this report.


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