North Korea said Friday its latest nuclear blast had confirmed that it can mount a nuclear warhead on a rocket, hours after it carried out a fifth atomic test.
“The nuclear test finally… confirmed the structure and specific features… of a nuclear warhead that has been standardized to be able to be mounted on strategic ballistic rockets,” the state-run Korean Central News Agency said.
“This (test) has definitely put on a higher level… DPRK’S technology of mounting nuclear warheads on ballistic rockets,” it said.
North Korea’s Kim Jong-Un claimed in March his country had developed a technology to produce a warhead small enough to mount on a ballistic missile, although many analysts questioned the veracity of the claim.
A nuclear warhead that can be mounted on a missile, if realized, is expected to dramatically increase threats from the isolated North, which has staged nearly 20 short- and mid-range missile tests this year alone.
The country has also claimed that it has developed a long-range missile capable of reaching the US mainland although most analysts are skeptical about the possibility.
The latest test, with an estimated yield of 10 kilotons, is the largest-ever staged by Pyongyang, Seoul’s military said.
US President Barack Obama, warning of “serious consequences,” called the leaders of South Korea and Japan to consult, a White House spokesman said Friday.
“The president indicated he would continue to consult our allies and partners in the days ahead to ensure provocative actions from North Korea are met with serious consequences,” White House press secretary Josh Earnest said.
The White House stopped short of calling it a nuclear test, referring to “reported seismic activity” near a known North Korean nuclear test site.
Obama was briefed on the situation as he flew home from a trip to Asia aboard Air Force One, Earnest said.
He said Obama, who arrived in Washington shortly after midnight Thursday, also consulted with South Korean President Park Geun-hye and Japan’s Prime Minister Shinzo Abe in separate phone calls from the presidential aircraft.
“The president reiterated the unbreakable US commitment to the security of our allies in Asia and around the world,” Earnest said.