[영문뉴스] 또 다른 ICBM 실험 준비하는 북한
[영문뉴스] 또 다른 ICBM 실험 준비하는 북한
  • 위키리크스한국
  • 승인 2017.09.05 09:03
  • 수정 2017.09.05 09:03
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N. Korea seen preparing for another ICBM test

North Korea appears to have succeeded in miniaturizing a nuclear warhead, Defense Minister Song Young-moo said Monday, a day after Pyongyang conducted its sixth nuclear test.

It also suspected the North will soon carry out its third test of an intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM).

"We assume that North Korea has secured the capability to miniaturize its nuclear warhead to less than 500 kilograms through the six tests," Song said during a National Assembly session.

He added the government presumes the warhead is small enough to be mounted on an ICBM.

After conducting its sixth nuclear test Sunday, Pyongyang claimed it had developed a hydrogen bomb that can be mounted on its new ICBM. North Korea has test-fired two such missiles so far, July 4 and 28, claiming the long-range missile can strike the U.S. mainland.

The ministry and the National Intelligence Service (NIS) said they had detected signs of North Korea preparing for another ICBM launch.

According to the NIS, it is likely the North will carry this out around its Foundation Day, Sept. 9, or the anniversary of its Communist Party, Oct. 10.

It said there is a chance Pyongyang will fire an ICBM into the Pacific Ocean on either of the days using a regular trajectory rather than the high-angle one it has used to date.

The NIS also said Sunday's test was conducted at the second shaft of the North's nuclear test site in Punggye-ri, North Hamgyong Province, and additional tests are possible at any time because the third and fourth shafts have also been prepared.

It estimated the explosion yield of the nuclear test at about 50 kilotons, five times stronger than the North's fifth test about a year ago, but added it is examining whether it was really a hydrogen bomb or an enhanced nuclear weapon.

The defense ministry said it is consulting with the U.S. about deploying a nuclear-powered aircraft carrier and strategic bombers here. "We asked the U.S. to regularly deploy assets of extended deterrence such as aircraft carriers and nuclear-powered submarines," Minister Song said.

He said participants of the National Security Council presided over by President Moon Jae-in right after the test Sunday agreed that it was time to focus on pressure rather than the peace overture proposed in Moon's Berlin speech in July.

In a direct response to the nuclear test, the military conducted a live-fire missile drill Monday, according to the Joint Chiefs of Staff (JCS).

It set the range of the simulated targets to that of Punggye-ri, the first exercise with real-distance targeting of the site.

"We conducted a combined live-fire exercise early in the morning, as a strong warning following Pyongyang's sixth nuclear test," the JCS said in a press release.

The military used a Hyunmoo-2A surface-to-surface missile and the F-15K's SLAM-ER air-launched cruise missile, which hit the designated targets in the East Sea accurately.

"The missiles were fired at targets which were set in accordance with the distance to the nuclear test site in Punggye-ri," JCS spokesman Roh Jae-cheon said. "We showed the capability of pinpoint strikes at the origin of provocations and the enemy's leadership."

The Hyunmoo-2A missile's range is about 300 kilometers, while Punggye-ri is about 280 kilometers away from Sokcho, Gangwon Province, where the exercise was conducted.

The weight of the missile's warhead was 1.5 tons, which can destroy underground bunkers in North Korea, according to the JCS. The SLAM-ER, with the capability of pinpoint strikes, can put all of North Korea within range if launched near the Military Demarcation Line.

The South Korean and the U.S. military authorities also plan to stage a joint show-of-force soon.

/Rep. Kang Ji Hyun

kbs1345@naver.com


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