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North Korea tests hydrogen bomb: Chronology of Pyongyang’s missile development

North Korea said it has developed a thermonuclear warhead that could be fitted into its new intercontinental ballistic missile.

world Updated: Sep 03, 2017 12:47 IST
A man in Tokyo walks past a TV news screen reporting North Korea's a possible nuclear test on Sunday.
A man in Tokyo walks past a TV news screen reporting North Korea's a possible nuclear test on Sunday.(AP)

North Korean state media claimed on Sunday that the country has developed a thermonuclear warhead that could be fitted into its new intercontinental ballistic missile, in the latest brazen assertion of its weapons capabilities.

The official Korean Central News Agency said leader Kim Jong-Un inspected a miniaturised H-bomb that could be loaded onto a missile -- although doubts remain over the veracity of Pyongyang’s claims.

Here are key dates in the North’s quest to develop a nuclear-tipped missile capable of hitting the US:

Late 1970s: North Korea starts working on a version of the Soviet Scud-B (range 300km). Test-fired in 1984

1987-92: Begins developing variant of Scud-C (range 500km), Rodong-1 (1,300km), Taepodong-1 (2,500km), Musudan-1 (3,000km) and Taepodong-2 (6,700km)

Aug 1998: Test-fires Taepodong-1 rocket over Japan in what it calls a satellite launch -- the US and others say it is a missile

Sept 1999: Declares moratorium on long-range missile tests amid improving ties with US

July 12, 2000: Fifth round of US-North Korean missile talks ends without agreement after North demands $1 billion a year in return for halting missile exports

March 3, 2005: Pyongyang ends moratorium on long-range missile testing, blames Bush administration’s “hostile” policy

July 5, 2006: Test-fires seven missiles, including a long-range Taepodong-2 which explodes after 40 seconds

Oct 9, 2006: Conducts underground nuclear test, its first

April 5, 2009: Launches long-range rocket which flies over Japan and lands in the Pacific, in what it says is an attempt to put a satellite into orbit. The US , Japan and South Korea see it as a disguised test of a Taepodong-2

May 25, 2009: Conducts its second underground nuclear test, several times more powerful than the first

April 13, 2012: Launches what it has said is a long-range rocket to put a satellite into orbit, but which disintegrates soon after blast-off

December 12, 2012: Launches a multi-stage rocket and successfully places an Earth observational satellite in orbit

February 12, 2013: Conducts its third underground nuclear test

January 6, 2016: Conducts its fourth underground nuclear test, which it says was a hydrogen bomb -- a claim doubted by most experts

March 9, 2016: Kim Jong-Un claims the North has successfully miniaturised a thermo-nuclear warhead

April 23, 2016: Pyongyang test-fires a submarine-launched ballistic missile

July 8, 2016: US and South Korea announce plans to deploy an advanced missile defence system -- THAAD (Terminal High Altitude Area Defense)

August 3, 2016: North Korea fires a ballistic missile directly into Japan’s maritime economic zone for the first time

September 9, 2016: Conducts fifth nuclear test, its most powerful to date

March 6, 2017: Fires four ballistic missiles in what it says is an exercise to hit US bases in Japan

March 7, 2017: US begins deploying THAAD missile defence system in South Korea

May 14, 2017: North Korea fires a ballistic missile which flies 700km before landing in the Sea of Japan. Analysts say it has an imputed range of 4,500km and brings Guam within reach

July 4, 2017: Test-fires a ballistic missile that analysts say brings Alaska within reach. Pyongyang later says it was a “landmark” test of a Hwasong-14 intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM)

July 28, 2017: Launches a missile with a theoretical range of 10,000km, meaning it could hit much of the US

August 26, 2017: Fires three short-range ballistic missiles

August 29, 2017: Fires ballistic missile over Japan and into the Pacific, acknowledging for the first time that it has done so. South Korea says it flew around 2,700km at a maximum altitude of about 550km

September 3, 2017: State media show leader Kim Jong-Un inspecting what it professes to be an H-bomb that can be loaded onto an ICBM. The claims have not been confirmed