Kim Jong Un says North Korea has miniaturized nuclear warheads to mount on ballistic missiles and wants the military ready to mount preemptive attacks against the US and South Korea in response to joint military drills started this week. "The nuclear warheads have been standardized to be fit for ballistic missiles by miniaturizing them," state media quoted Kim as saying Wednesday, per Reuters. "This can be called true nuclear deterrent." Some analysts believe North Korea has had the technology since it first made the claim last year, though others are doubtful. "There are probably some technical difficulties there for hitting the United States," one tells CNN. But "we probably should not underestimate their capability ... if not today, then tomorrow."
Kim also reportedly inspected a miniaturized hydrogen bomb the country claims to have tested on Jan. 6 and asked officials to boost the power and precision of its weapons, per the BBC. A day earlier, South Korea announced it was blacklisting several people involved with Pyongyang's weapons program. However, a UN panel report released Tuesday notes North Korea has been "effective in evading sanctions." In particular, Pyongyang is continuing to participate in banned trade "facilitated by the low level of implementation of Security Council resolutions by Member States," the report continued. "The reasons are diverse, but include lack of political will, inadequate enabling legislation, lack of understanding of the resolutions and low prioritization." (Read more North Korea stories.)