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North Korea's Kim Jong Un Poses Next to 'Miniaturized Nuclear Warhead'

by Stella Kim and Eric Baculinao /  / Updated 

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North Korean leader Kim Jong Un has been pictured next to what state-run media claimed was a miniaturized nuclear warhead capable of being used on a long-range missile.

The photograph of Kim standing next to the silver spherical object ran in Rodong Sinmun, a newspaper of the ruling Workers’ Party. It came after Pyongyang warned Monday of preemptive nuclear strikes targeting the U.S. and South Korea as a result of the the biggest-ever war games involving both countries.

A South Korean soldier walks by a TV screen showing North Korean leader Kim Jong Un with superimposed letters reading "North Korea's nuclear warhead" at Seoul Railway Station on Wednesday.Ahn Young-joon / AP

Kim was quoted as saying the nuclear warheads have been “standardized to be fit for ballistic missiles by miniaturizing them.”

He described the warheads as “thermonuclear” devices, echoing claims that North Korea successfully tested its first “hydrogen bomb” in January.

Related: North Korea's 6 Most Outrageous Insults

"This can be called a true nuclear deterrent," he was quoted as saying.

In South Korea, where the photograph ran on newscasts, officials downplayed Pyongyang's latest claims.

Speaking on condition of anonymity, a South Korean military official told NBC News: "We don't think North Korea has succeeded in miniaturizing nuclear warhead."

Defense ministry spokesman Moon Sang-Gyun gave Reuters a similar assessment of its neighbor's capabilities.

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