A new report from The Washington Post indicates North Korea has developed a miniaturized nuclear warhead capable of fitting inside a missile.
The report cites U.S. intelligence officials and says the information comes from a confidential assessment. According to an excerpt obtained by the Post, the assessment reads, in part: "The IC [intelligence community] assesses North Korea has produced nuclear weapons for ballistic missile delivery, to include delivery by ICBM-class missiles."
This new conclusion contradicts previous beliefs that North Korea was years away from miniaturizing a nuclear weapon. While the country claimed to have developed and tested a miniaturized nuclear warhead last year, experts were skeptical.
If the latest U.S. intelligence is accurate, the question now is whether North Korea can successfully mount and launch a nuclear warhead on an ICBM, or intercontinental ballistic missile.
A recent analysis of North Korea's second ICBM test, based on video captured by Japanese public broadcaster NHK, also put re-entry capability into question. That analysis claims the missile's re-entry vehicle disintegrated in-air.
That means right now, even if North Korea has a nuclear warhead and an ICBM to put it on, it still lacks the capability to hit a specific target. But experts say it could hit that milestone as early as next year.