North Korea Is Closing In On A Sixth Nuclear Test

In July, North Korea tested two ICBMs, which analysts say could put much of the US mainland within range, including Los Angeles and Chicago.

Pyongyang's official Korean Central News Agency said it was a Hwasong-12 intermediate range missile that the North first successfully tested in May and threatened to fire into waters near Guam earlier this month.

The H-bomb can be detonated even at high altitudes for extremely powerful EMP attacks, it added.

On Sunday, the North Korean report said the hydrogen bomb had an explosive power adjustable from tens of kilotons to hundreds of kilotons.

North Korea followed up a provocative missile launch over Japan with a threat of more launches into the Pacific, calling it "a meaningful prelude to containing Guam", as US and allied officials moved to put more pressure on Pyongyang to de-escalate its military provocations.

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"All components of the H-bomb were 100 percent homemade and all the processes ranging from the production of weapons-grade nuclear materials to precision processing of components and their assembling were indigenously developed, thus enabling the country to produce powerful nuclear weapons as many as it wants", the report said.

The key question is how far North Korea has gotten in efforts to consistently shrink down nuclear warheads so they can fit on long-range missiles. "All options are on the table". But some analysts said that the outside world has long underestimated Pyongyang's determination to build a reliable nuclear force and needed to pay more attention to its latest claim. "Trump should remember: It took China only three years to go from its first atom bomb test, in 1964, to to its first hydrogen bomb test, in 1967, 50 years ago".

Kim Jong-Un is the third in an familial line of North Korean dictators stretching back to his grandfather, Kim Il-Sung, who founded the state in 1948 and led the invasion of South Korea in 1950, sparking the Korean War.

Despite the successful tests, analysts have been uncertain about the ability of Pyongyang to mount a warhead on a ballistic missile and get that warhead to survive the tremendous heat generated on the missile's re-entry into the Earth's atmosphere.

North Korea has been test-firing missiles at a rapid pace all year. Some experts think the North may have mastered this technology. It is seeking to develop a nuclear weapon small enough to be mounted on an ICBM. Some have speculated that the North may conduct a nuclear test or a significant missile test on Saturday, a national holiday.


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