North Korea leader Kim Jong-Un orders nuclear warhead test. (Yahoo).
North Korean leader Kim Jong-Un has ordered an upcoming nuclear warhead test and multiple ballistic missile launches, escalating Pyongyang's face-off with the international community just days after being slapped with tough UN sanctions.
The order came after Kim monitored what was described as the successful simulated test of the warhead re-entry technology required for a long-range nuclear strike on the US mainland, the North's official KCNA news agency said Tuesday.
According to KCNA, the proposed tests are the result of years of development and "diligent research" into heat-resistant materials and technology. Kim Jong Un guided an "environmental simulation for re-entry by the warhead tip," the report said.
In order to boost the reliability of the nation's nuclear deterrent still further, Kim said a nuclear warhead explosion test and firings of "several kinds" of ballistic rockets would be carried out "in a short time"."He instructed the relevant section to make pre-arrangement for them to the last detail," KCNA said. The order came days after state media released photos of Kim posing with what was claimed to be a miniaturised nuclear warhead capable of fitting on a ballistic missile.
Meeting with her cabinet ministers on Tuesday, South Korean President Park Geun-Hye said North Korea's endless threats reflected a "sense of crisis" in Pyongyang at its increasing diplomatic and economic isolation.
"If North Korea continues its provocations and confrontation with the international community and does not walk the path of change, it will walk the path of self-destruction," Park said.
Protected by "newly developed heat-resisting material" the warhead was reportedly subjected to thermal flows five times hotter than those associated with ICBM flight. The test was a complete success, the agency said, and provided a "sure guarantee" of the warhead's ability to withstand re-entry -- a major step in the North's push towards a genuine ICBM nuclear strike capability.
South Korea's defence ministry said it was sceptical of the claim. "According to our military analysis, North Korea has not yet secured re-entry technology," ministry spokesman Moon Sang-Gyun told reporters.
North Korea has never tested an ICBM, although it has displayed such a missile, known as the KN-08, during recent mass military parades in Pyongyang.
"It seems highly likely that North Korea is on the verge of conducting a long-range ballistic missile test, involving re-entry," said Chang Yong-Seok, a senior researcher at the Institute for Peace and Unification Studies at Seoul National University "It wants to show that sanctions are not effective and to boost the credibility of its deterrent," Chang said. Hmmm..........Admiral Bill Gortney: "prudent" to assume North Korea could miniaturize a warhead and put it on an ICBM targeting the US.. Read the full story here, more here.