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N. Korea needs nuke test for smaller warheads to fit on new missiles: expert

North Korea 16:57 June 22, 2022

SEOUL, June 22 (Yonhap) -- North Korea has its own military and technical reason to carry out another nuclear test, as it needs a miniaturized nuclear warhead to be loaded on its newly developed missiles, a former senior South Korean defense official said Wednesday.

"North Korea's level of nuclear (warhead) miniaturization is estimated to be around 60 centimeters in diameter," Kim Jung-sup, a senior research fellow at the Sejong Institute who served as deputy defense minister, said at a forum in Seoul. "In order to be mounted on (the nation's) new tactical guided weapons and hypersonic missiles, like the Hwasong-8, it needs to become even smaller."

His assessment came amid speculation that the North's seventh underground nuclear testing might be just around the corner. It has reportedly completed relevant preparations at its Punggye-ri test site.

"In the eighth congress of the Workers' Party last year, North Korea unveiled plans to strengthen its defense capabilities and there is a need to conduct an additional nuclear test in terms of military and technical requirements," Kim noted. The North conducted its sixth and last nuclear test in September 2017.

The North Portal, also known as Tunnel No. 2, of North Korea's only known nuclear test site, Punggye-ri, is blown up on May 24, 2018, in this file press pool photo. (Yonhap)

yunhwanchae@yna.co.kr
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