North Korea may have succeeded in creating a miniature nuclear device, according to South Korea's defense minister.
If true, the new technology could allow North Korea to place an atomic warhead on a ballistic missile.
"It's been a long time [since North Korea's first nuclear test in 2006], so we judge that by this time (it) could have succeeded in making smaller or miniaturized versions of its nuclear weapons," Defense Minister Kim Kwan-jin told the South Korean parliament, Monday.
The defense minister didn't offer any evidence to back up his claims.
Kim's words come amid renewed tensions between the neighboring nations. North Korea recently threatened military action against Seoul unless it punished South Korean soldiers who used images of Pyongyang's ruling dynasty as rifle targets.
"The possibility of a surprise provocation with various means and methods is steadily increasing while (the North is) pressuring us with rhetorical threats," Kim said.
North Korea tried to detonate nuclear devices in 2006 and 2009. Weapons experts don't consider either attempt a success.