Tags: North Korea | miniature | nuclear | warhead

US General: North Korea Closer to Building Nuclear Weapon

By    |   Friday, 24 Oct 2014 10:53 PM

Gen. Curtis Scaparrotti, commander of U.S. forces on the Korean Peninsula, said Friday that North Korea is moving closer to building a nuclear missile, as it already has the capability to build a miniaturized warhead that it can mount on a rocket.

Scaparrotti, speaking to reporters at the Pentagon, said the small warheads would be a major improvement to the country's current weaponry, reports The Wall Street Journal.

He also thinks the country has developed a launcher to carry an intercontinental ballistic missile.

"I think, given their technological capabilities, that the times that they’ve been working on this, that they probably have the capabilities to put this together, he said. However, the general doesn't "believe that they have. I don’t know that they have at this point."

Scaparrotti said the United States has not seen such a weapon be tested, and Pentagon Press Secretary Rear Adm. John Kirby later said there is no "smoking gun piece of evidence" to back the general's announcement. However, he also noted that there is no reason to doubt the North Koreans' capabilities.

In addition to the weapons report, Scaparrotti denied recent rumors that dictator Kim Jong Un is not controlling North Korea, and that Kim is "clearly in control of the country."

Until recent days, Kim had not been seen in public for several weeks, sparking speculation that he may no longer be in power. But a South Korean newspaper reported at the end of September that the North Korean leader was hospitalized for surgery after cracking bones in both his ankles after neglecting an injury sustained during field supervisions in June.

There were also reports last year that North Korea had developed its ability to make the miniaturized weapons, but not all intelligence officials agree that the country is near to the weapons' development.

"North Korea is really hard; it’s really difficult to know at any given moment what they’re doing, what they have. As far as intelligence is concerned, it’s a really hard target," Toby Dalton, director of the Nuclear Policy Program at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, told The Wall Street Journal.

Scaparrotti said North Korea may have gotten long-sought information on building the technology from either Iran or Pakistan.

The United States still has more than 28,000 troops in South Korea, where they are stationed to deter a potential attack by North Korea, and on Thursday, the United States and South Korea agreed to drop a 2015 deadline for transferring full military control over to Seoul, signaling there are still concerns about the country's security.

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Gen. Curtis Scaparrotti, commander of U.S. forces on the Korean Peninsula, said Friday that North Korea is moving closer to building a nuclear missile, as it already has the capability to build a miniaturized warhead that it can mount on a rocket.
miniature, nuclear, warhead
426
2014-53-24
Friday, 24 Oct 2014 10:53 PM
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