Seoul: North Korea estimated to have 20-60 nuclear weapons

Seoul: North Korea estimated to have 20-60 nuclear weapons

Seoul: North Korea estimated to have 20-60 nuclear weapons

Stanford University scholars, including nuclear physicist Siegfried Hecker who visited North Korea's centrifuge facility at Nyongbyon in 2010, wrote earlier this year that North Korea is estimated to have a highly enriched uranium inventory of 250 to 500kgs (550 to 1,100lbs), sufficient for 25 to 30 nuclear devices.

On Monday, a South Korea statement said that the two sides agreed to remove all landmines in what is called the Joint Security Area within the next 20 days.

"The DPRK is taking substantial and crucial steps to implement the joint statement made at the DPRK-US summit, but the US is still trying to subdue someone by resorting to sanctions", the unnamed commentary accused.

North Korea said on Tuesday that declaring the end of the 1950-53 Korean War "can never be a bargaining chip" for getting North Korea denuclearised, and said the country "will not particularly hope for it" if the United States does not want the end of war, according to state media KCNA.

"But, if the USA doesn't want the end of war, the DPRK will also not particularly hope for it", it added, using the acronym of North Korea's official name, the Democratic People's Republic of Korea. About 2 million mines are believed to be peppered inside and near the DMZ, which is also guarded by hundreds of thousands of combat troops, barbed wire fences and tank traps on both sides.

Critics have anxious that Moon's recent inter-Korean military deals would weaken South Korea's war readiness because the North's nuclear program remains largely intact.

The Koreas' militaries agreed on a range of deals aimed at lowering their decades-long military animosities on the sidelines of a summit between their leaders in Pyongyang.


They have already dismantled propaganda loudspeakers and some guard posts along the border.

Moon has advocated dialogue with the isolated North to nudge it toward denuclearisation.

Pungsans are designated a North Korean "natural monument".

But critics of his engagement policy have lambasted his recent inter-Korean military deals, saying a mutual reduction of conventional military strength would eventually weaken South Korea's war readiness because the North's nuclear program largely remains intact.

But it would be the two countries' first joint demining work in more than a decade and comes amid worldwide diplomacy aimed at ridding North Korea of its nuclear weapons. Past rapprochement efforts were often stalled after a standoff over the North's nuclear ambitions intensified.

The North entered talks with the United States and South Korea earlier this year, saying it is willing to negotiate away its advancing nuclear arsenal.

Nuclear diplomacy later came to a standstill amid disputes over how genuine North Korea is about its disarmament pledge. It added such a declaration should not be used as either a "gift" or a "bargaining chip" in the denuclearization talks.

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