11:26 GMT24 September 2020
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    A new report submitted on Monday by an independent, 15-member panel of experts on the United Nations Security Council Sanctions Committee on North Korea claims that the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK) is violating sanctions and is likely developing miniature nuclear devices that attach to ballistic missile warheads.

    “The Democratic People’s Republic of Korea is continuing its nuclear program, including the production of highly enriched uranium and construction of an experimental light water reactor. A Member State assessed that the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea is continuing production of nuclear weapons,” the confidential report observed by Reuters reportedly read.

    The interim report also detailed that several countries believe Pyongyang has “probably developed miniaturized nuclear devices to fit into the warheads of its ballistic missiles.”

    Furthermore, the document reportedly revealed that many unnamed countries in the UN believe that North Korea’s past six nuclear tests have been tied to an effort to develop those miniature nuclear devices.

    The intercontinental ballistic missile Hwasong-14 is seen in this undated photo released by North Korea's Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) in Pyongyang July 5, 2017. Earlier this month, intelligence experts said they believed Ukrainian aerospace companies may have engaged in the transfer of missile technology to Pyongyang.
    © REUTERS / KCNA
    The intercontinental ballistic missile Hwasong-14 is seen in this undated photo released by North Korea's Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) in Pyongyang July 5, 2017. Earlier this month, intelligence experts said they believed Ukrainian aerospace companies may have engaged in the transfer of missile technology to Pyongyang.

    One country, which also went unnamed in the report, assessed that the DPRK “may seek to further develop miniaturization in order to allow incorporation of technological improvements such as penetration aid packages or, potentially, to develop multiple warhead systems.”

    Just last week, North Korean leader Kim Jong Un asserted that nuclear weapons function as a “reliable, effective” deterrent against “high-intensity pressure and military threats and blackmailing by imperialistic reactionaries and hostile forces.”

    However, the UN report detailed that North Korea is not stopping at nuclear development and has continued to violate sanctions “through illicit maritime exports of coal, though it suspended these temporarily between late January and early March 2020.”

    The UN experts went on to accuse Pyongyang of continued cyberattacks and online criminal initiatives.

    “The Panel continues to assess that virtual asset service providers and virtual assets will continue to remain lucrative targets for the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea to generate revenue, as well as mining cryptocurrencies,” the report read.

    The experts’ report comes a few weeks after Japan released its annual defense white paper, which not only expressed that Beijing was a continued threat to the island nation, but also that Pyongyang poses “a grave and imminent threat to the security of Japan.”

    The white paper detailed that the DPRK has been making strides in its ballistic missile technology at “an extremely rapid pace” and could use a low-trajectory ballistic missile to deliver a nuclear weapon to Japan.

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    Tags:
    nuclear weapons, nuclear warhead, North Korea, North Korea's nuclear program, DPRK
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