N Korea can mount nuclear warhead on Rodong missile, South says

South Korea says North Korea can put nuclear warhead on its medium-range missile, which could reach parts of South Korea and most of Japan as well South says

Photo by: AFP (Archive)
Photo by: AFP (Archive)

North Korean leader Kim Jong-un inspects a section of a ballistic missile warhead.

A senior South Korean government official claimed on Tuesday that North Korea is able to mount a nuclear warhead on a medium-range Rodong ballistic missile.

North Korean leader, Kim Jong Un, stated in March that his country had miniaturised nuclear warheads to put on its ballistic missiles. It was the first time North Korean leader gave a direct statement of a claim.

"We believe they have accomplished miniaturisation of a nuclear warhead to mount it on a Rodong missile," the South Korean official said on condition of anonymity.

The Rodong missile can fire one tonne (1,100 lb) of warhead with a maximum range of around 2,000 kilometres (1,250 miles), the official said.

In range, it could reach all parts of South Korea, most of Japan, parts of Russia and China.

"We believe they have the ability to mount a nuclear warhead on a Rodong. Whether they will fire it like that is a political decision," the official stated.

There was no direct evidence on whether the North had successfully mounted a warhead on its medium-range missile, the South Korean official said.

A North Korean Taepodong-class missile. (AFP Archive)

The Korean peninsula has been the scene of profound tensions in recent weeks between North and South Korea, due to the North’s nuclear tests and several missiles launches, and the South’s military drill that collaborated with the United States.    

The tests and launches have pushed the UN Security Council to impose new sanctions against North Korea.

The Unification Ministry, a South Korean body established to promote inter-Korean dialogues and exchanges, warned that officials would have to consider whether a leaflet launch in the present atmosphere might trigger a North Korean response that would "threaten the lives and property of our citizens."

The peninsula was divided into two parts following World War Two, by the United States and the former Soviet Union, with national division and separate governments, which eventually led to the Korean War during 1950-53 and caused permanent tensions in the peninsula, thus far.  

Following North Korea's fourth nuclear test on January 6, South Korea resumed blasting a mix of K-pop and propaganda messages into the North, using giant banks of speakers on the heavily militarised border.

North Korea has responded by dropping its own leaflets over the border, attacking South Korean President Park Geun-hye.

TRTWorld and agencies