Tokyo: North Korea can miniaturize nuclear weapons

SEOUL, Aug. 2 (UPI) — Japan is raising concerns about North Korea‘s nuclear warhead miniaturization capabilities.

In its annual Defense White Paper published Tuesday, Tokyo stated there is a possibility North Korea has mastered long-range ballistic missile technology and has developed nuclear warheads that weigh under a ton.

The long-range missiles in question are probably capable of reaching more than 6,200 miles, the white paper read.

That distance is sufficient to place U.S. cities, including Los Angeles, San Francisco and even Denver, within striking distance of North Korea missiles, South Korean news agency Yonhap reported.

The Japanese analysis also stated the ballistic missile North Korea fired on Feb. 7 in the course of a “peaceful” satellite launch was an improved model with similar specifications as the Taepodong-2, a three-stage ballistic missile.

The white paper pointed out it is possible North Korea already has the capacity to miniaturize nuclear weapons, based on the past experience of other countries.

The United States, the former Soviet Union, Britain, France and China had each conducted four nuclear tests before mastering the capability to develop nuclear warheads small enough to fit on ballistic missiles, the report stated.

But Yonhap reported it is not likely North Korea has mastered the re-entry technology of its intercontinental ballistic missiles, or ICBMs.

There is also evidence Pyongyang is not yet capable of miniaturizing a nuclear warhead that weighs less than a ton, according to South Korea press.

The Japanese report stated North Korea’s weapons development “absolutely cannot be tolerated.”

North Korea is believed to retain 1,000 ballistic missiles in its arsenal.

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