Another day, another angry threat from North Korea, like an annoying fly that won't stop buzzing around your ear.
This time, they claim that they have developed a hydrogen bomb which is, "much bigger than the one developed by the Soviet Union", and which would be capable of destroying New York City, if mounted on an intercontinental ballistic missile. Also, their dad's definitely bigger than your dad, OK?
A report by the state-run outlet (well, there's no other kind of outlet, to be fair) DPRK Today cited a nuclear scientist called Cho Hyong II and stated: “If this H-bomb were to be mounted on an intercontinental ballistic missile and fall on Manhattan in New York City, all the people there would be killed immediately and the city would burn down to ashes.”
It goes on to say that the new bomb, "surpasses our imagination", and informs us that, “the H-bomb developed by the Soviet Union in the past was able to smash windows of buildings 1000km away and the heat was strong enough to cause third-degree burns 100km away.”
Scary stuff, were the weapon, and delivery system, to actually exist.
However, experts are still sceptical that the dictatorial nation possesses the capability to manufacture either component. The country's fourth nuclear test in January produced similar seismic waves to the previous three, suggesting that it was simply another atomic bomb (although that's scary enough), rather than the claimed move up to a far more powerful hydrogen bomb.
Meanwhile, February saw Kim Jong-un advertise the launch of a rocket that put a satellite into orbit, with experts concluding that the regime would probably be able to attack the West Coast of America, flying over the Pacific Ocean, but certainly not the East.
Kim also showed off a "miniaturised warhead" last week during a nuclear weapons plant visit, which was widely discredited.
However, weapons expert Jeffrey Lewis warned against dismissing the claims, saying “It does not look like U.S. devices, to be sure, but it is hard to know if aspects of the model are truly implausible or simply that North Korean nuclear weapons look different than their Soviet and American cousins. The size, however, is consistent with my expectations for North Korea.”
So could North Korea wipe out Manhattan? All said and done, it's unlikely, and is almost certainly more posturing in response to severe UN sanctions against Pyongyang and the spring drills between the US and South Korean militaries.
But if there's one crazy mother out there who just might do it, it's this guy.
[via Washington Post]