North Korean leader Kim Jong-Un has ordered further nuclear tests, state media said Friday, as military tensions surge on the Korean peninsula with South Korean and US forces engaged in large-scale joint exercises condemned by Pyongyang.
Since the joint drills began Monday, the North has issued daily warnings and statements, talking up its nuclear strike capabilities and threatening to turn Seoul and Washington into “flames and ashes.”
Just days after he was photographed posing in front of what state media described as a miniaturised nuclear warhead, Kim said the weapon required further testing.
Overseeing a ballistic missile launch on Thursday, Kim ordered “more nuclear explosion tests to estimate the destructive power of the newly produced nuclear warheads,” the North’s official KCNA news agency said.
Experts are divided as to just how far the North may have gone in shrinking warheads to a size capable of fitting on a ballistic missile — a major step forward in strike capability that would present a heightened threat to South Korea, other countries in the region and, eventually, the US mainland.