Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

N. Korea Claims ICBM Hydrogen Bomb

Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

N. Korea Claims ICBM Hydrogen Bomb

Article excerpt

SEOUL, South Korea * North Korean leader Kim Jong Un inspected a new, "super explosive" hydrogen bomb meant to be loaded into an intercontinental ballistic missile, Pyongyang's state-run media said Sunday, a claim to technological mastery that some outside experts will doubt but that raises the possibility of an imminent nuclear bomb test.

Photos released by North Korea showed Kim talking with his lieutenants as he observed a silver, peanut-shaped device that was apparently the purported thermonuclear weapon destined for an ICBM.

Aside from the factuality of the North's claim, the language in its statement seems a strong signal that Pyongyang will soon conduct another nuclear weapon test, which is crucial if North Korean scientists are to fulfill the national goal of an arsenal of viable nuclear ICBMs that can reach the U.S. mainland.

There's speculation that such a test could come on or near the Sept. 9 anniversary of North Korea's national founding, something it did last year.

The White House said President Donald Trump spoke with Japan's Prime Minister Shinzo Abe to discuss "ongoing efforts to maximize pressure on North Korea." The statement did not say whether the conversation came before or after the North's latest claim.

As part of the North's weapons work, Kim was said by his propaganda mavens to have made a visit to the Nuclear Weapons Institute and inspected a "homemade" H-bomb with "super explosive power" that "is adjustable from tens kiloton to hundreds (of) kiloton," the state run Korean Central News Agency said.

North Korea conducted in July its first ICBM tests, part of a stunning jump in progress for the country's nuclear and missile program since Kim rose to power after his father's death in late 2011. The North followed its two tests of ICBMs, which, when perfected, could target large parts of the United States, by threatening to launch a salvo of its Hwasong-12 intermediate range missiles toward the U.S. Pacific island territory of Guam in August.

It flew a Hwasong-12 over northern Japan last week, the first such overflight by a missile capable of carrying nuclear weapons, in a launching Kim described as a "meaningful prelude" to containing Guam, the home of major U. …

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