Kim Is Developing Baby Nukes: UN Experts

Report finds North Korea is expanding its nuclear arsenal, ballistic missile program
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Aug 5, 2020 7:42 AM CDT
North Korea Likely Has Miniaturized Nukes: Experts
This May 4, 2019, file photo provided by the North Korean government shows what it says a launch of a missile in the east coast of North Korea.   (Korean Central News Agency/Korea News Service via AP, File)

UN experts say North Korea is flouting UN sanctions by expanding its nuclear arsenal and ballistic missile program and by exporting coal and illegally importing refined petroleum products in excess of its annual quota. In a report obtained Tuesday by the AP, the experts said that North Korea has also evaded sanctions through "targeted" cyber attacks against officials of countries on the UN Security Council and on members of its expert panel. They did not identify which of the 15 council nations were targeted. In the report to the Security Council, the experts said North Korea has maintained its nuclear facilities and continues to produce fissile material, including highly enriched uranium, that can be used in nuclear weapons. It has also continued "to develop infrastructure and capacity for its ballistic missile program" and moved ahead on construction of an experimental light water reactor, they said.

The independent panel quoted several unidentified countries as saying North Korea has "probably" developed miniaturized nuclear weapons that can fit into its ballistic missiles. One unnamed country says Pyongyang may seek to further develop "miniaturization" of components "in order to allow incorporation of technological improvements ... or, potentially, to develop multiple warhead systems," the experts said. Last week, Kim said his country's hard-won nuclear weapons were a solid security guarantee and a "reliable, effective" deterrent that could prevent a second Korean War. The panel also said foreign-flagged tankers have continued to make illicit deliveries of refined petroleum products to North Korea through ship-to-ship transfers, reportedly in China, and other "elaborate evasion practices." The report comes as US efforts to get North Korea to rein in its nuclear and ballistic missile programs remain stalled.

(Read more North Korea stories.)

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