The crisis in the Korean peninsular is on the brink of bubbling over after the US president vowed to unleash “fire and fury” on the hermit kingdom earlier this week.
The response has been ferocious – with Pyongyang announcing “operational plans” for missile strikes in areas around Guam.
The world watches on in horror, with both China and Russia wading in and calling for calm.
A giant mosaic created by 10,000 North Koreans holding cards at the May Day stadium in Pyongyang, North Korea.
“These rockets actually carried very small payloads that were nowhere near the weight of a nuclear warhead”
Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists
But the threat posed by Kim’s hermit kingdom might not be all it seems – with top scientists doubting whether they really do have nuclear capability.
Rocket experts Ted Postol, Markus Schiller and Robert Schmucker published their findings in the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists – in a paper titled “North Korea’s ‘Not Quite’ ICBM Can’t Hit the Lower 48 States.”
In it, they wrote: “Calculations we have made indicate that these rockets actually carried very small payloads that were nowhere near the weight of a nuclear warhead of the type North Korea could have, or could eventually have.
“These small payloads allowed the rockets to be lofted to far higher altitudes than they would have if loaded with a much-heavier warhead, creating the impression that North Korea was on the cusp of achieving ICBM capability.”
It doesn’t stop there, though.
The group of scientists – world-renowned for their work on the Doomsday Clock – added that the current scenario suits the tubby tyrant perfectly.
“From the point of view of North Korean political leadership, the general reaction to the July 4 and July 28 launches could not have been better,” the authors wrote.
“The world suddenly believed that the North Koreans had an ICBM that could reach the West Coast of the United States and beyond.”
An aerial view of U.S. Naval Base Guam
They did warn that recent tests demonstrated the North’s advancing missile technology.
They added that the country will eventually produce missiles with sufficient payloads to deliver nuclear bombs to the continental United States, but that is “probably years away.”
This comes despite US spooks claiming Kim can now miniaturise nuclear warheads for use on his ICBMs.
An army officer in frony of Mount Paektu on the Northern Chinese border. This is a sacred place for Koreans, and it is said that General Kim Jong Il was born at the base of the mountain
Daily Star Online earlier revealed where a strike would come – hitting the continental US with an onslaught that would kill as many as 493,000.
Last weekend, US Pacific Command dispatched B1-B bombers to the region as Mr Trump took to Twitter boasting about his nuclear arsenal.
He tweeted: “My first order as President was to renovate and modernize our nuclear arsenal. It is now far stronger and more powerful than ever before.
“Hopefully we will never have to use this power, but there will never be a time that we are not the most powerful nation in the world.”