Kim Wants N. Korea to Make More Nuclear Material for Bombs

SEOUL, South Korea (AP) —

In this photo provided on Tuesday, March 28, 2023, by the North Korean government, North Korean leader Kim Jong Un visits a hall displaying what appears to be various types of warheads designed to be mounted on missiles or rocket launchers on March 27, 2023, in undisclosed location, North Korea. (Korean Central News Agency/Korea News Service via AP)

North Korean leader Kim Jong Un has called for his nuclear scientists to increase production of weapons-grade material to make bombs to put on his increasing range of weapons.

North Korean photos of the meeting also showed what appeared to be a small new tactical warhead that was possibly designed to fit on a variety of delivery systems developed in recent years to overwhelm South Korean defenses.

Officials say North Korea could further up the ante in coming weeks or months with more provocative displays of its military nuclear program, possibly including its first test detonation of a nuclear device since September 2017.

The Korean Central News Agency said Kim, during a meeting on Monday with officials and scientists at a state nuclear weapons institute, stressed the need to ramp up bomb fuel production to meet his goals to expand his nuclear arsenal “exponentially,” and issued unspecified “important tasks” for his nuclear industry.

North Korea likely has dozens of nuclear warheads that can probably be fitted on some of its older systems, like Scuds or Rodong missiles.

Lee Sung-jun, spokesperson of Seoul’s Joint Chiefs of Staff, said the South’s military was analyzing the warhead unveiled in the North Korean photos but didn’t provide specific assessments.

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