A confidential US intelligence report reviewed by The Washington Post assessed that North Korea has made a breakthrough and can now build nuclear bombs small enough to fit on missiles.
The intelligence community “assesses North Korea has produced nuclear weapons for ballistic missile delivery, to include delivery by ICBM-class missiles,” a portion of the assessment read.
Additionally the report states that the US calculates North Korea has 60 nuclear devices, a huge increase compared to what experts previously assessed.
In the event of a military conflict, the US would attempt to destroy or seize all North Korean weapons, so 60 targets represents an incredibly difficult task.
Analysts have long suspected North Korea could achieve a small-enough device to launch atop a missile, but this is the first internal government document to acknowledge the technology.
In March 2016, North Korean leader Kim Jong Un posed in front of a silver ball that North Korean propaganda called a miniaturized nuclear warhead, but analysts had doubted the isolated regime’s ability to construct such a device.
The news comes at a time when North Korea has been making leaps and bounds in its missile program, twice demonstrating in July a missile that could strike the US mainland.
President Donald Trump has increasingly focused on North Korea, succeeding in bringing together the 15 states on the UN Security Council to unanimously pass tough sanctions on Pyongyang.
However, experts told Business Insider the sanctions will not curb North Korea’s missile programs, and it looks increasingly like the US must rely on nuclear deterrence to buck down an increasingly capable Kim regime.