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Pyongyang estimated to have 20 nuclear warheads

Posted June. 14, 2022 08:16,   

Updated June. 14, 2022 08:16


The global stock of nuclear weapons, which has been continuously curbed since the end of the Cold War, is expected to grow again over the next decade. As of January, North Korea was suspected to have 20 nuclear warheads and in possession of enough nuclear fissile materials to produce a maximum 55 warheads additionally. In an interview with the Deutsche Welle on Monday, the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI) warned that the risk of nuclear war is much higher than it was a decade ago.

According to a major report published by SIPRI, the number of nuclear warheads has marginally fallen from January last year to January this year, but it warned of an increase of nuclear weapons worldwide over the next 10 years. Since President Vladimir Putin has repeatedly mentioned the possibility of using nuclear weapons, disarmament will make little progress over the next few years, SIPRI predicted. Vladimir Solovyov, the presenter of the show who is dubbed the “mouth of Putin,” claimed on June 6 that everything is moving in the direction of nuclear war.

Currently, 90% of nuclear weapons across the globe are in America and Russia. According to SIPRI, the number of nuclear warheads in America and Russia has fallen from 5,550 to 5,428 and from 6,255 to 5,977, respectively, over the past year, with the global stock dipping from 13,080 to 12,705. The global stock of nuclear warheads has steadily decreased since it peaked out at over 70,000 in 1986.

However, SIRPI warned of a potential nuclear proliferation in the longer term, citing the developments of seven other nuclear states that are either deploying new weapons systems or preparing for a new development. The movements in China are highly unusual for starters. A satellite imagery analysis by SIPRI found that over the past two years, China has newly built some 300 silos for ballistic missiles, and a few more nuclear warheads were deployed in operating forces last year. On Sunday, Chinese Defense Minister Wei Fenghe said China had made impressive progress in developing new nuclear weapons over the past 50 years.

Seong-Ho Hwang hsh0330@donga.com