U.S. Northern Command officials say that North Korea can mount a nuclear warhead on an intercontinental ballistic missile called the KN-08, estimated to have a long enough range to reach the continental U.S. west coast. China’s top nuclear scientists now believe North Korea has almost double the capabilities previously thought.
There is some speculation that North Korea twisted the 1994 (Clinton era) nuclear agreement in their favor, and instead of limiting their nuclear knowledge, they are rapidly expanding it.
David Albright, an expert on North Korea’s nuclear weapons and head of the institute for Science and International Security in Washington said China “had a pretty low opinion of what the North Koreans could do”. He said, “I think they’re worried now.”
North Korean United Nations diplomats are not responding to inquiries. But then, neither are our U.S. State Department officials, nor the White House. Looks like somebody wants to keep a low profile on the North Korean nuclear arsenal. Pyongyang conducted a long-range missile test in 2012, and now the possibility of a much higher level of capabilities was discussed at a February meeting at the China Institute of International Studies. There is mounting concern that North Korea’s nuclear technology could be shared with Syria, and that missile components could possibly by exported to Iran, Yemen and Egypt.