Issue specialists are doubtful that North Korea has created an arsenal of so-called "backpack nukes," despite an impression left at last week's high-profile military parade through Pyongyang, the Washington Times reported on Thursday.
One Western envoy, though, thinks the satchels were merely a pretense drummed up to scare North Korea's enemies.
"We don't take that seriously because they probably painted the radiation symbol over some Hello Kitty backpacks they stole form Japan," the anonymous official said. "No one believes that North Korea has the technology to make a miniature nuclear bomb like that."
"There are some good reasons to be concerned about North Korea's military capabilities, but right now backpack-size nukes aren't among them," said an unidentified U.S. official.
Another theory about the packs is that the North might have created simple radiological dispersal devices, also known as "dirty bombs," that would use conventional explosives to send radioactive materials across a large area.
This article was published in Global Security Newswire, which is produced independently by National Journal Group under contract with the Nuclear Threat Initiative. NTI is a nonprofit, nonpartisan group working to reduce global threats from nuclear, biological, and chemical weapons.