16:08 GMT24 November 2020
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    In a moderate scenario, based on prognosis that North Korea's nuclear programs will develop at their current pace, Pyonyang's 2020 arsenal would consist of some 50 bombs.

    MOSCOW (Sputnik) — North Korea may increase its nuclear arsenal from at least ten bombs today to 100 in the next five years, a US researcher on US-North Korean relations Joel Wit said at a conference.

    According to The Diplomat magazine, Wit told a seminar in Washington on Tuesday that North Korea currently possesses from ten to 16 nuclear bombs and in a worst-case scenario this number will reach 100 by 2020.

    These findings are part of a joint research project by the US-Korea Institute at Johns Hopkins University and National Defense University. The North Korea Nuclear Futures Project has outlined three scenarios for the growth of Pyongyang's nuclear power in the years to come.

    In a moderate scenario, based on prognosis that North Korea's nuclear programs will develop at their current pace, Pyonyang's 2020 arsenal would consist of some 50 bombs. Under the "minimum growth, minimal modernization" scenario North Korea is expected to possess 20 units of nuclear weapons.

    North Korea declared itself a nuclear power in 2005 and has conducted a total of three nuclear tests – in 2006, 2009 and 2013. Pyongyang has never made public how many bombs it has. The Communist country's nuclear program has led to its further international isolation and aggravated tensions in the region.

    Another recent evaluation made in January by a senior fellow at Stanford University's Center for International Security and Cooperation suggests that North Korea currently has about 12 nuclear weapons and is capable of manufacturing four to six bombs a year.

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    Tags:
    Democratic Republic of North Korea (DPRK), nuclear power, nuclear weapons, US
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