North Korea is now capable of making a nuclear warhead compact enough to put inside a missile, U.S. analysts determined in a confidential assessment completed last month. "The [intelligence community] assesses North Korea has produced nuclear weapons for ballistic missile delivery, to include delivery by ICBM-class missiles," the assessment says, debunking beliefs that North Korea could not yet accomplish the feat.
The assessment also projected that North Korea has 60 bombs in its arsenal, a marked increase from previous estimates. However, independent experts say that number is actually lower, warning against overestimating the threat posed by North Korea.
The Washington Post noted the development of missile-ready warheads crosses "a key threshold on the path to becoming a full-fledged nuclear power," deepening existing concerns about North Korea's nuclear activity. "What initially looked like a slow-motion Cuban missile crisis is now looking more like the Manhattan Project, just barreling along," Robert Litwak, a nonproliferation expert at the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars, told The Washington Post. "There's a sense of urgency behind the program that is new to the Kim Jong Un era."