North Korea could have up to 60 nuclear weapons, Seoul has claimed, in its first public remarks about the size of the Pyongyang’s secret atomic arsenal. South Korea’s unification minister, Cho Myoung-gyon, said that parliament intelligence authorities estimated North Korea had between 20 and 60 bombs. Mr Cho may have unintentionally revealed the information. His ministry later said his comments didn’t mean that South Korea would accept North Korea as a nuclear state, suggesting Seoul’s diplomatic efforts to rid the North of its nuclear programme would continue. The South Korean official’s words came hours after Seoul said their northern cousins had began removing mines from along their heavily armed border as part of recent steps to reduce tensions. The effort is expected to only root out a small portion of the 2 million mines that litter the 248km-long, 4km-wide Demilitarised Zone that divides the nations. Nevertheless, officials hailed the clearing work as “the start of peace” between the two nations, which are still technically at war following the 1950-53 Korean conflict. South Korean estimates of the North’s arsenal are similar to various civilian estimates, which are largely based on calculations of the amount of nuclear materials the North is believed to have produced. Stanford University scholars wrote earlier this year that… Read full this story
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