North Korea Unveils Tactical Nuclear Warheads for First Time
Anchor: In what appears to be a protest against Seoul and Washington's ongoing joint military exercises featuring the participation of the nuclear-powered USS Nimitz aircraft carrier, Pyongyang said its firing of two short-range ballistic missiles on Monday was training for a nuclear air explosion. It also unveiled its nuclear warhead, the "Hwasan-31," for the first time.
Choi You Sun reports.
Report: North Korea has unveiled photos of tactical nuclear warheads for the first time in what may be a prelude to a seventh nuclear test.
The Korean Central News Agency(KCNA) said on Tuesday that a pair of ballistic missiles mounted with mock nuclear warheads were fired from the capital of Pyongyang before detonating 500 meters above the target island off the coastal city of Kim Chaek in North Hamgyong Province the previous day.
Accompanying the North's claim of training for a nuclear air explosion were photos from Monday showing North Korean leader Kim Jong-un inspecting what appeared to be tactical nuclear warheads called "Hwasan-31."
After being briefed by the Nuclear Weapons Institute and reviewing the country's nuclear weaponization and counterattack operation plans, Kim called for flawlessly prepared nuclear weapons able to strike "anytime and anywhere."
The leader ordered the expanded production of weapons-grade nuclear materials to exponentially increase the state's nuclear weapons arsenal.
The KCNA also announced that Pyongyang conducted another test of a nuclear-capable underwater weapon system between Saturday and Monday.
The news agency said the "Haeil-1-type underwater nuclear attack drone" traveled a "jagged and oval" 600-kilometer course in the East Sea for 41 hours and 27 minutes, before setting off a test warhead in waters off Hwadae County, North Hamgyong Province.
The announcement comes days after the North's earlier claimed testing of the new underwater drone that ran from last Tuesday through Thursday.
However, Seoul’s Joint Chiefs of Staff expressed doubt about the veracity of the report, noting that expert analysis established the possibility that the claims were exaggerated or even fabricated entirely.
Choi You Sun, KBS World Radio News.
[Photo : YONHAP News]