A think tank from South Korea has said that North Korea is developing a bomb drone, which can spread lethal amounts of radioactive material over a wide stretch of area, making it uninhabitable. If the claims of the think tank are true, this would be the latest in a string of nuclear and radiological weapons being developed under North Korean leader Kim Jong-Un's regime.
South Korea's Yonhap News Agency reported that North Korea may have begun development of the drone soon after the death of Kim Jong-Un's father Kim II-sung in 2012. The agency states that the device is called Banghyun-5 drone and is made of titanium and carbon composites. The drone reportedly also has a 900-litre fuel tank, which allows it to fly for around 10 hours. It is said to be designed to carry enriched uranium, which Kim Jong-Un's regime is believed to have because of the development of its nuclear weapons programme.
The device reportedly being devised is also called a Radiological Dispersal Device (RDD) or a dirty bomb. It uses explosives like dynamite to disperse radioactive material over a wide area.
These bombs are not similar to nuclear bombs, but they contain enough radioactive material to kill people. Prolonged exposure to the contaminated material could increase a person's chances of developing cancer and radiation sickness.
North Korea has reportedly flown various drones over South Korea despite warnings. Reports state that some of these, which crashed in South Korea, had photographs of Seoul and the official residence of the president, the Blue House.
The Yonhap news agency had also published a report on Thursday saying that the Seoul spy agency believes that Kim Jong-Un has ordered executions or purges of around 340 North Koreans, including government officials, ever since he assumed power. He also sentenced his uncle-in-law, Jang Song Thaek, as part of a plan to consolidate his position as the third-generation North Korean ruler by inheritance.