North Korea said on Sunday it has developed a more advanced nuclear weapon that has “great destructive power” as leader Kim Jong Un inspected a hydrogen bomb at the Nuclear Weapons Institute.
The bomb can be loaded on a new intercontinental ballistic missile. The hydrogen bomb’s power is adjustable to hundreds of kilotons and can be detonated at high altitudes, with its indigenously produced components allowing the country to build as many nuclear weapons as it wants, the North’s official KCNA news agency said.
Yonhap owned by South Korea said the institute has succeeded in developing a “more developed nuke,” bringing about a “signal turn” in the country’s nuclear weaponization, according to the report. 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,” the KCNA said. The H-bomb can be detonated even at high altitudes for super-powerful EMP attacks, it added.
In January 2016, North Korea conducted its fourth nuclear test, which Pyongyang claimed to be a successful test of a hydrogen bomb. Outside experts said that it appeared to be a test of a boosted fission weapon, rather than an H-bomb. North Korea has carried out five nuclear tests since 2006 including two last year. It is seeking to develop a nuclear weapon small enough to be mounted on an ICBM.
The announcement came amid heightened tensions after North Korea fired an intermediate-range ballistic missile over Japan last week. In July, North Korea tested two ICBMs, which analysts say could put much of the U.S. mainland within range, including Los Angeles and Chicago.