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(LEAD) N. Korean hydrogen bomb can wipe out Manhattan: propaganda outlet

All Headlines 11:23 March 13, 2016

(ATTN: RECAST headline, lead; UPDATES with new threat, more info throughout; ADDS photo)

SEOUL, March 13 (Yonhap) -- A North Korean-developed hydrogen bomb placed on top of an intercontinental ballistic missile can wipe out everyone in Manhattan, Pyongyang's state-run propaganda outlet said Sunday.

Citing an article by a nuclear scientist, DPRK Today claimed that the North has succeeding in miniaturizing nuclear warheads and making the delivery systems more precise. The scientist said the North is capable of making a bomb or warhead with a yield of some 15 kilotons.

The DPRK stands for the Democratic People's Republic of Korea, the North's official name.

It argued that the hydrogen bomb that the country has developed is more powerful than those made by the former Soviet Union.

The country has maintained that the fourth nuclear test conducted on Jan. 6 involved a hydrogen device, which usually is more powerful than a conventional nuclear bomb. Despite Pyongyang's boast, outside experts have cast doubts on the hydrogen bomb claim, citing its relatively low yield.

The article then said that the miniaturization of nuclear weapons is a meaningful development in economic terms.

It said if the country was able to make just one bomb with 50 kilograms of enriched uranium or plutonium, it could now make one with just 5 kilograms.

He cited that the bomb dropped on Hiroshima at the end of World War II used 30 kilograms of enriched uranium.

The scientist, moreover, stressed that the DPRK will continue to upgrade its nuclear capability so it can overpower all its enemies.

The latest announcement by the isolationist country comes after it was slapped with the toughest sanctions yet by the United Nations Security Council earlier this month for testing its fourth nuclear device and launching a long range missile.

It also shot off a short-range multiple launch rocket system and a pair of ballistic missiles as the joint Key Resolve and Foal Eagle exercise kicked off in South Korea.

The North has maintained for some time that it has the capability to miniaturize nuclear warheads so they can fit onto a ballistic missile, but such claims are contested by outside sources.

Related to the latest claim, the same outlets said in a separate piece citing a military officer that the "miniaturized" nuclear warhead that North Korea said could be placed on a ballistic missile last week is not a mockup.

The government mouthpiece said the spherical warhead shown in a picture last Wednesday is a real warhead that the rest of the world does not know about.

It argued that the warhead represents the latest high-tech military hardware and not something that has been made up, as claimed by detractors.

It said that the North has deployed weapons that can place all of South Korea within its reach as well as U.S. military targets in the Asia-Pacific region and even the mainland United States. DPRK Today said the country's nuclear arsenal is ready to strike at North Korea's enemies at any time.

The outlets said that the United States and South Korea have engaged in a large-scale joint military exercise despite warnings to refrain from such provocations by Pyongyang.

yonngong@yna.co.kr
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