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North Korea’s Kim says country has miniaturized nuclear warheads

North Korea conducted its fourth nuclear test on Jan. 6 claiming to have set off a miniaturized hydrogen bomb

Published: Updated:

North Korean leader Kim Jong Un said the country has miniaturized nuclear warheads to mount on ballistic missiles and ordered improvements in the power and precision of its arsenal, state media reported on Wednesday.

Kim has called for his military to be prepared to mount pre-emptive attacks against the United States and South Korea and stand ready to use nuclear weapons, stepping up belligerent rhetoric after coming under new UN and bilateral sanctions for its nuclear and rocket tests.

US and South Korean troops began large-scale military drills this week, which the North called “nuclear war moves” and threatened to respond with an all-out offensive.

Kim’s comments, released on Wednesday, were his first direct mention of the claim, made repeatedly in state media, to have successfully miniaturized a nuclear warhead, which has been widely questioned and never independently verified.

“The nuclear warheads have been standardized to be fit for ballistic missiles by miniaturizing them,” KCNA quoted Kim as saying as he inspected the work of nuclear scientists, adding “this can be called a true nuclear deterrent”.

“He stressed the importance of building ever more powerful, precision and miniaturized nuclear weapons and their delivery means,” KCNA said.

Kim also inspected the nuclear warhead designed for thermo-nuclear reaction, KCNA said, referring to a miniaturized hydrogen bomb that the country said it tested on Jan. 6.