North Korea has plutonium ready for up to five nuclear bombs, reports claim

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North Korea today threatened to ­”shatter” the conservative South Korean government in Seoul, as reports emerged that Pyongyang claims to have weaponised enough plutonium stocks to produce four or five nuclear bombs.

Relations across the heavily fortified border have turned frosty since South Korea’s president, Lee Myung-bak, came to office last year promising to get tough on his communist neighbour after a decade of attempts by liberal governments to engage with Pyongyang. In December, North Korea closed border crossings and accused Seoul of plotting to assassinate the North’s leader, Kim Jong-il.

But today’s rare statement from the Korean People’s Army – read on television by a uniformed officer – is likely to further raise tensions on the divided peninsula.

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