SEOUL, South Korea — North Korea can now deliver a nuclear warhead on a missile, the South Korean Defense Ministry said in a report, contradicting the U.S. position that the country is years away from developing the technology.
“The security situation on the Korean Peninsula has now worsened as the North’s threat of nuclear missiles has become real,” according to the report, which was presented to a parliamentary committee on national security Tuesday and released by the office of lawmaker Kim Kwang Jin.
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The new capability may embolden North Korea toward military provocation once the U.S. relinquishes its wartime command of South Korean troops in 2015, the report said. That command was given to the United States during the 1950-53 Korean War.
North Korea threatened first strikes against South Korea and the United States in March after a February nuclear test prompted tightened sanctions against the Kim Jong Un regime.
The Obama administration, which has called on North Korea to renounce its nuclear program, has said the country didn’t have the ability to launch an atomic weapon on a missile.
Until 2010, the North was in an experimental stage with its nuclear missiles, and the country has now come to a point where it can actually use them, the report said.
The Defense Ministry didn’t explain how it reached its conclusion, and the study didn’t mention the ranges of the missiles that the North had the capability to mount weapons on.
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