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NK’s latest missiles large enough to carry nuclear warheads

North Korea fires a pair of ballistic missiles similar to United States ballistic missile ATACMS on March 21, 2020. Washington-based website 38 North says the missiles are capable of carrying nuclear warheads. (KCNA-Yonhap)
North Korea fires a pair of ballistic missiles similar to United States ballistic missile ATACMS on March 21, 2020. Washington-based website 38 North says the missiles are capable of carrying nuclear warheads. (KCNA-Yonhap)
A pair of missiles North Korea fired Saturday had a payload capacity sufficient to carry nuclear warheads, 38 North said Wednesday. The Washington-based website monitors North Korea.

The firings on March 21 marked Pyongyang’s third weapons test this year, following two rounds in the same month. The missiles were the North’s variant of the US surface-to-surface missile ATACMS.

The website said it suspected that the North Korean missiles had payload compartments that were 700-750 millimeters in diameter to fit the 600-millimeter nuclear weapon the regime revealed in February 2017. The website said the missiles could carry warheads weighing over 500 kilograms.

Also on Wednesday, US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo advised keeping pressure on North Korea to engage in the stalled nuclear talks, following his teleconference with G-7 countries.

“The G-7 and all nations must remain united in calling on North Korea to return to negotiations and stay committed to applying diplomatic and economic pressure over its illegal nuclear and ballistic missile programs,” Pompeo said at a press conference at the US State Department.

Pompeo’s advice contradicted Michelle Bachelet, UN high commissioner for human rights, who said a day earlier that she supported sanctions relief for North Korea since it lacks resources to counter COVID-19 and that the North Korean people are not responsible for the restrictions.

By Choi Si-young (siyoungchoi@heraldcorp.com)
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