North Korea’s nuclear test did not improve its technical capacity but the US is on alert regarding efforts to attack the US with a thermonuclear warhead, head of US Missile Defence Agency said on Tuesday.
Vice Admiral James Syring said he would assess that “their technical capacity has not increased, everything they’re doing continues to be alarming and provoking, we continue to watch it closely.”
US efforts to identify, track and intercept potential North Korean missile threats as a result of the latest test have had no major changes, he said.
“If it was warranted, you would see our program change, we are absolutely on the right path to stay ahead of that threat,” he said.
No further details were given regarding North Korea’s fourth nuclear test.
Defence Secretary Chuck Hagel ordered 14 ground-based interceptors to be put in place in March 2013 after North Korea’s third nuclear test.
Syring said that 37 interceptors would be in place in Alaska and California by the end of 2016, and 44 by the end of 2017.
Experts say a hydrogen bomb is a nuclear weapon that uses energy from a primary nuclear fission reaction to compress and ignite a secondary nuclear fusion reaction with the result of a greatly increased explosive power.
The test will certainly allow North Korea to increase the sophistication of its nuclear arsenal, specifically to make the nuclear bombs smaller and lighter, former director of Los Alamos National Laboratory Siegfried Hecker said.
North Korea already has the ability to miniaturise nuclear weapons and place them on missiles that could reach the US, said commander of US Northern Command Admiral Bill Gortney.
It released a video of a successful test of a submarine launched missile, while having also tested a space-launch vehicle that could be modified to work as an intercontinental ballistic missile.
North Korea has continued its nuclear program despite widespread international sanctions.