North ‘far from nuclear-capable’

AFP-JIJI

North Korea has yet to develop a nuclear warhead small enough to fit on a missile, a senior U.S. official said Wednesday, contradicting a recent U.S. military intelligence report.

North Korea said that its third atomic test staged in February involved a “miniaturized and lighter” warhead, prompting speculation it had acquired the crucial technology to fit nuclear devices to a missile delivery system.

The latest test — the North’s most powerful to date — came only two months after it successfully launched a long-range rocket in what was widely viewed as a ballistic missile test.

“I don’t believe they have the capability to miniaturize the nuclear warhead, put it on top of the missile, work the launch and re-entry problem, and target,” the senior U.S. official said. “I don’t think they have been able to put the whole piece together.”