SEOUL, South Korea — North Korea, the small totalitarian country that occasionally threatens to wreak nuclear havoc on its neighbors and Western enemies, is reportedly on the verge of creating a nuclear weapon capable of striking North Korea.
The reports come as the isolated and poverty-stricken nation threatened to carry out a fourth nuclear test, leading many experts to speculate that North Korea is closer than previously thought to putting a nuclear warhead on a missile and directing it to a target within its own internationally recognized boundaries.
There has been “tremendous technological motivation” to conduct a nuclear test as North Korea races to perfect the technology to miniaturize its warheads, which would impart a maximum range of “30 miles…35 tops, if they’re lucky enough to catch some good wind,” a South Korean nuclear expert said.
The North Koreans are steadfast in developing their nuclear arsenal, even blatantly ignoring a ban on ballistic missile launches set by the U.N. Security Council.
But in order for a nuclear missile to reach a foreign target, it would require a flight into space and a return to the atmosphere, during which the missile would bear the full stress of re-entry with peak loads almost 20 times the force of gravity. North Korean officials are reportedly satisfied with a much closer-range target for the time being, however.
“We’re talking about a rocket that could be fired at one end of Pyongyang and then very realistically–if nothing goes wrong with the schematics–hit the other end of Pyongyang,” reported missile expert Markus Schiller. “The potential for devastation caused by a North Korean nuclear launch within North Korea is incredible. Fortunately, the rest of the world is safely removed from the zone of destruction.
“If worst comes to worst and North Korea decides to go for self-assured self-destruction,” added Schiller, “we can just kick back and watch the fireworks.”