Despite its stated push for a formidable arsenal of nukes and delivery systems, North Korea appears to still have a long way to go before achieving what it desires, especially technology to miniaturize warheads, according to an expert here at a state-run institute Wednesday.
The assessment by Lee Sang-min, a researcher at the Korea Institute for Defense Analyses, came a day after North Korean leader Kim Jong-un vowed in public to speed up the development of the North’s nuclear capabilities and even threatened to use nuclear weapons in case “any forces try to violate the fundamental interests” of his country.
“Assuming that its ultimate goal is to load warheads on an intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM), there is no evidence that North Korea has reached such a goal,” Lee said at a conference in Seoul.
It seems that the North is struggling in securing advanced technology, such as the miniaturization of nuclear warheads and atmospheric re-entry capabilities for ballistic missiles, he said, adding that the secretive regime’s nuclear development so far has been mainly based on relatively simple technology.
He evaluated that Pyongyang currently does not appear to have mastered the technology to load a nuclear warhead onto its Hwasong-15 ICBM and strike a target precisely amid reports of a single test-launch.
Kim Bo-mi, a researcher at the Institute for National Security Strategy, also said the Hwasong-15 seems to have a low level of target accuracy, for now.
During a military parade on Monday, the North showcased its ICBMs, including the Hwasong-15 and Hwasong-17, a “monster” missile that it claimed to have test-fired last month.