North Korea says it has loaded H-bomb onto ICBM

FILE - In this May 21, 1956 file photo, the stem of a hydrogen bomb, the first such nuclear device dropped from a U.S. aircraft, moves upward through a heavy cloud and comes through the top of the cloud, after the bomb was detonated over Namu Island in the Bikini Atoll, Marshall Islands. The hydrogen bomb was never dropped on any targets. It was first successfully tested in the 1950s by the U.S., in bombs called Mike and Bravo. Soviet tests soon followed. (AP Photo, File)

SEOUL, South Korea (AP) — North Korea’s state media claims that its leader has inspected the loading of a hydrogen bomb into a new intercontinental ballistic missile.

There will be some skepticism about the claim from experts about Pyongyang’s assertion that it has mastered hydrogen technology.

But Sunday’s statement by the state-run Korean Central News Agency will raise already high worries on the Korean Peninsula and in Washington that the North is closer to its goal of an arsenal of viable nuclear ICBMs that can reach the U.S. mainland.

KCNA said Sunday that leader Kim Jong-un inspected the loading of an “H-bomb into the ICBM” during a visit to the North’s Nuclear Weapons Institute.

The North conducted two nuclear tests last year alone. The first involved what it claims to have been a hydrogen bomb and the second was its most powerful ever.