Sci-tech

South Korea creates 'decapitation' unit targeting North's leadership

South Korea creates 'decapitation' unit targeting North's leadership

After it tested two ICBMs in July, Mr Moon said Pyongyang would cross a red line by creating a nuclear-tipped ICBM, and this could risk tougher moves from the USA including military action.

The Hwasong-15, Moon said during the phone call, "is clearly the most advanced missile to date which North Korea has developed, but its technology for reentry and for guidance in the terminal stage have not yet been proven, nor is it certain whether [North Korea] has acquired the technology for miniaturizing nuclear warheads".

Pyongyang on Wednesday claimed success in its latest missile test, also declaring completion of building the "state nuclear force".

The idea of a naval blockade was seemingly endorsed by Defense Minister Song Young-moo when addressing lawmakers in the wake of the North's latest intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) test on Wednesday.

"President Moon Jae-in told his USA counterpart that although it's clear that the new missile is North Korea's most advanced so far, it still has some technical issues to settle such as re-entry, terminal stage guidance and warhead activation".

The drills will mark the first time that six of the stealth fighters fly over South Korea at once, according to the report.

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Yeo said the Hwasong-15 is 2 meters longer than the Hwasong-14; the second-stage engine requires further analysis. President Moon's vision of a "Peace Olympics" will continue to urge North Korea to participate in PyeongChang, although it is unlikely the Games could spur diplomatic talks, Lee said. While Moon was primarily raising doubts about the ICBM's technical completion, experts believe that he was also sending a message to the U.S. and North Korea not to allow rash conclusions to lead them into a fatal collision.

North Korea is known to test fewer missiles in the fourth quarter of the year, when troops are called to help with harvests and the cold strains its fuel supplies.

"The missile launched yesterday certainly was the most advanced one so far in all aspects, but the reentry technology has not yet been proven, and it is also uncertain whether the North has secured the technology to miniaturize nuclear warheads", he told the USA president, according to Cheong Wa Dae spokesman Park Soo-hyun.

Analysts believe the launch shows that North Korea was only two or three tests away from being combat-ready.

He, however, parried questions on Trump's tweet about more sanctions against North Korea. It's also considerably larger than North Korea's previous ICBM, the Hwasong-14, and created to deliver larger warheads, the ministry said.

The United Nations Security Council has unanimously imposed a set of sanctions against North Korea on September 11 over the country's hydrogen bomb test which was conducted on September 3.