North Korea's recent saber-rattling ratcheted up a notch Wednesday when the leader of the reclusive country claimed it had miniaturized nuclear weapons, then released photos of Kim Jong Un standing beside an apparent mockup of one of the devices.
The country's KCNA news agency described the weapons as "miniaturized powerful nuclear warheads with a Korean-style structure of mixed charge." Despite the rhetoric, experts have questioned whether the rogue nation is capable of such technology.
The announcement of the miniature warheads comes just a day after the U.S. and South Korea began military exercises with thousands of troops in the region.
Last week, North Korea fired projectiles into the sea, apparently in response to new U.N. sanctions. In recent months the country has also detonated what it claimed was a hydrogen bomb and tested new rocket technology.
KCNA reported the country claimed the miniature warheads "have been standardized to be fit for ballistic missiles."
The state news agency further described the warhead as a "true nuclear deterrent." It also said Kim expects to develop more warheads.
North Korea also threatened it "will never hesitate to make a preemptive nuclear strike" against the U.S.
Other photos posted Wednesday showed Kim standing beside what appeared to be large missiles.
In the KCNA report, the country warned that a strike could happen if "the U.S. imperialists infringe upon" North Korea's "sovereignty and right to existence with nuclear weapons."
Jim Dalrymple is a reporter for BuzzFeed News and is based in Los Angeles.
Contact Jim Dalrymple II at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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