WASHINGTON — The Washington Post is reporting that U.S. intelligence officials assess that North Korea has successfully produced a miniaturized nuclear warhead that can fit inside its missiles.
That would mean North Korea has passed a crucial threshold on the path to becoming a full-fledged nuclear power.
The Post story, citing unnamed U.S. intelligence officials, said the confidential analysis was completed last month by the U.S. Defense Intelligence Agency. Officials at the agency would not comment Tuesday. The Office of the Director of National Intelligence could not immediately be reached for comment.
Separately, Japan’s defense ministry assessed in a report Tuesday that it is possible that North Korea has achieved the miniaturization of nuclear weapons and has developed nuclear warheads.
What’s more, President Donald Trump says that North Korea “had best not make any more threats to the United States” or “they will be met with fire and fury like the world has never seen.” Trump issued the warning during a briefing on opioid addiction at his golf course in Bedminster, New Jersey.
On Monday, North Korea vowed to bolster its nuclear arsenal and gain revenge of a “thousand-fold” against the United States in response to tough U.N. sanctions imposed following its recent intercontinental ballistic missile tests.
The warning came two days after the U.N. Security Council unanimously approved new sanctions to punish North Korea, including a ban on coal and other exports worth over $1 billion. The U.S. ambassador to the U.N., Nikki Haley, called the U.S.-drafted resolution “the single largest economic sanctions package ever leveled against” North Korea.
In a statement carried by the North’s state-run Korean Central News Agency, North Korea’s government said the sanctions were a “violent infringement of its sovereignty” that was caused by a “heinous U.S. plot to isolate and stifle” the country.
“We will make the U.S. pay by a thousand-fold for all the heinous crimes it commits against the state and people of this country,” the statement said.
The North said it would take an unspecified “resolute action of justice” and would never place its nuclear program on the negotiating table or “flinch an inch” from its push to strengthen its nuclear deterrence as long as U.S. hostility against North Korea persists.
Washington’s alarm over North Korean leader Kim Jong Un’s pursuit of a nuclear capability has intensified in the past month after the North conducted two tests of intercontinental ballistic missiles last month.
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