North Korea Claims It Can Build Miniaturized Nuclear Weapons

North Korea has claimed that it has the technology to produce miniaturized nuclear weapons, shortly after conducting a purported submarine missile test that Western authorities have since called into question.

If verified, the development would mark a major step in North Korea’s weapons development, as the Associated Press reports. Pyongyang has a history of making exaggerated claims about its weapons capabilities, yet analysts believe that it is simply a matter of time before the country’s nuclear weapons program and missile technology are unified.

North Korea’s National Defense Commission, or NDC, the highest ranking military authority, claimed in a statement that the reclusive nation had achieved the construction of a nuclear warhead small enough to be fitted atop an intercontinental ballistic missile, the ultimate aim of which would be targeting the United States, as the Washington Post reports.

“It is long since [North Korea’s] nuclear striking means have entered the stage of producing smaller nukes and diversifying them,” an NDC spokesman asserted, claiming the country “has reached the stage of ensuring the highest precision and intelligence and best accuracy of not only medium-and short-range rockets, but long-range ones.”

Earlier this month, North Korea claimed to have launched a ballistic missile from a submarine, releasing photos of Kim Jong Un observing the test, as the Inquisitr previously reported. Though North Korea asserted that the test was part of its “byungjin” policy of nuclear weapons advancement, and even released photographs of a rocket bursting out of the sea, Western officials have widely discredited the claims. Earlier this week, Adm. James Winnefeld, vice chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, commented on the purported missile test, asserting that North Korea has “not gotten as far as their clever video editors and spinmeisters would have us believe.”

“They are years away from developing this capability,” he asserted while speaking in Washington.

While at least one expert noted that the missile test appeared to have been conducted from a submerged barge rather than a submarine, analysts have posited that it is distinctly plausible that North Korea will develop the technology to miniaturize nuclear weapons. In the past North Korea has conducted three nuclear tests, and regularly launches missiles as both a show of force and to develop their capabilities.

In 2013, the Defense Intelligence Agency asserted “moderate confidence” that North Korea had the capability to miniaturize nuclear weapons, though the military will not consider weapons to be operational until they have been successfully demonstrated.

[Photo by Chung Sung-Jun / Getty Images]