Seoul: North Korea is developing new missiles capable of carrying nuclear warheads, media reported on Tuesday citing a South Korean intelligence source.
"Based on our analysis and other intelligence, we concluded that they are intended to carry tactical nuclear weapons," the source was quoted as saying by the Joongang daily.
The source was commenting on the new K-10 missiles that the North Korean regime has been test-firing since mid-August.
It was the first time that South Korean officials have made an announcement about having detected a North Korean tactical missile.
The source added that the missiles have a range of some 200 km and that North Korean leader Kim Jong-un's regime is seeking to install small nuclear warheads of 500 kg that could cause considerable damage though not as extensive and devastating as a large nuclear blast.
The missiles, which are versions of the Soviet Union's SS-21 missiles, use solid fuel and are launched from mobile platforms which makes them difficult to detect.
This could make them a threat to South Korea as the capital, Seoul, is only 60 km from the border.
US and South Korean experts believe that North Korea still does not have the technology to miniaturise nuclear warheads so as to install them on the missiles. But they agree that it is only a matter of time.
Pyongyang presented its new tactical missile last month while the multiple rocket launcher system used to fire it was unveiled in 2013.
North Korea has test-fired these missiles several times in recent months amidst criticism from the US and South Korea as the allies were staging routine military manoeuvres in the region.
North and South Korea technically remain at war since the 1950-53 Korean War ended with a truce which was never replaced by a peace treaty.
Updated Date: Sep 23, 2014 14:37:12 IST