According to South Korea's defence minister, North Korea may have created a nuclear warhead small enough to be launched in a missile. This is a first for those nutters, who had previously only detonated two nuclear devices that were too big for rockets.
Today, a typical thermonuclear weapon weighs about 1100kg and has a destructive capability of 1.2 megatons of TNT. Compare this to the 0.013 megatons of TNT of Little Boy, the 4400kg nuclear bomb dropped by Enola Gay over Hiroshima.
If South Korea is right, this type of warhead would allow North Korea to create missiles capable of reaching South Korea or Japan just few minutes after launch. These nuclear devices can use their current and tested rocket technology, completely destroying a city as large as Tokyo or Seoul.
North Korea is also working on a missile capable of reaching as far as the West Coast of the United States. According to NORAD (North American Aerospace defence Command) and USNORTHCOM (US Northern Command), Kim Jong Il and his cronies failed on testing such a rocket in April 2009. However, the Guardian later reported that North Korea may actually be able to reach Hawaii. Whatever the outcome of those tests was, what is clear that they will not stop at that failure.
Of course, South Korea has plenty of reasons to exaggerate and pressure the international community, but their neighbour's war efforts and defiant attitude is well known. And, not so long ago, the latter launched an unprovoked attack over the former.
What is clear is that, if true, this development bring very dark and frightening possibilities to the world. And Kim Jong Il legally changing his name to Kim Kaboom is only one of them. [Reuters]