US says Pyongyang is not limiting its nuclear programme, days after Kim Jong-un’s visit to a chemical institute
North Korea can make more ingredients for nuclear bombs than expected
North Korea is not limiting its nuclear weapons programme as it seeks to perfect a one-pot hydrogen bomb, a US state department official said on Friday.
The admission comes after North Korea claimed last week that its first hydrogen bomb, which it tested on September 3, was small enough to fit on a ballistic missile. The North’s official KCNA news agency said that nuclear scientist Kim Kye-gwan, also director general of the country’s Atomic Energy Institute, had visited a chemical institute.
The official, who asked not to be named, said Kim’s visit to a chemical institute had been previously reported, but this was the first time he had spoken about further nuclear bomb development. Kim said Pyongyang could quickly industrialise its nuclear programme, but did not give any more details on the claim.
US secretary of state, Rex Tillerson, said last week it was his understanding that North Korea had also mastered its ability to miniaturise a nuclear weapon, a claim Pyongyang later disputed.
Noah Seelam (@NoahSeelam) [email protected] official says North Korea is not limiting its nuclear program: “We’ve seen no indication that they have slowed down or suspended their progress on their nuclear and missile programs.
The US has said the North should come back to the negotiating table after its nuclear and missile programmes began only after Kim’s father Kim Jong-il was killed. North Korea has dismissed the US demand and has said it will never return to nuclear talks unless the United States drops its “hostile policy” toward the North.
On Wednesday, South Korea’s intelligence agency said North Korea is believed to have miniaturised a nuclear warhead and is developing a miniaturised version of its intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) that could fit on a missile like its KN-08.
The KN-08 is a road-mobile ICBM that North Korea has said it tested in July but which Western experts and analysts have described as highly unlikely to be operational.
Seelam reported from Washington and Eliot Higgins (@Yglesias) From #NorthKorea engineer to Japan probe pic.twitter.com/CqvfOdX4tG