December 11, 2015 09:33
North Korea has turned into a "powerful nuclear weapons state ready to detonate a hydrogen bomb," leader Kim Jong-un claimed Thursday. Kim was speaking during a visit to the recently renovated Pyongchon revolutionary site in Pyongyang.
Kim said the bomb would be detonated "to reliably defend the sovereignty and dignity of the nation," according to the official [North] Korean Central News Agency.
H-bombs are many times more powerful than ordinary atom bombs but also much more difficult to develop, and it is unlikely the North has made much progress in that direction. South Korean military and government officials dismissed the claim as rhetoric.
The North succeeded in a third nuclear test in February 2013 but is believed to have the technology to make a nuclear weapon with yield similar to that of the A-bombs that were dropped in Hiroshima and Nagasaki at the end of World War II.
Some experts speculate that a fourth nuclear test that is apparently in the planning could test a fission weapon marking an early stage in H-bomb development.
Kim's remarks are in line with other grandiose claims by the North Korean regime over the decades, covering anything from space exploration to former leader Kim Jong-il's prowess at golf, and most likely intended for domestic consumption, pundits speculate.
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