May 09, 2016 10:00
North Korea is now capable of mounting a nuclear warhead on a short- to mid-range missile capable of hitting targets in South Korea and Japan, the New York Times claimed Saturday.
The paper cited South Korean and U.S. intelligence sources as claiming the information was based on "intelligence gleaned from high-level defectors, analysis of propaganda images and data collected from North Korean missile and nuclear tests, which have accelerated over the past six months."
But experts believe it will take many more years before North Korea develops an intercontinental ballistic missile capable of reaching the continental U.S.
North Korea has Scud missiles with a range of 300 to 700 km and Rodong missiles with a range of 1,300 km.
Jeffrey Lewis of the James Martin Center for Nonproliferation Studies said on the website 38 North in March that North Korea appears to have succeeded in developing a nuclear warhead measuring 60 cm in diameter and weighing between 200 to 300 kg.
The daily said the North's progress in nuclear arms development poses new obstacles to the North Korea policy of the Obama administration.
Obama's policy of "strategic patience" -- not overreacting to the North’s missile and nuclear tests, while using sanctions to press it to negotiate -- had practically failed, it claimed.
A military official here disagreed. "North Korea has made significant progress in miniaturizing a nuclear warhead, but we can't find any evidence that it is capable of mounting them on a missile," he said.
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