North Korea has miniaturised nuclear warheads and made them small enough to fit on ballistic missiles, Japan believes.

Tokyo defence chiefs warn in a new white paper that North Korea’s military activities pose a ‘serious and imminent threat’.

In last year’s report Japan said it was ‘possible’ that North Korea had achieved miniaturisation, but Tokyo now appears to have upgraded its assessment, according to Japanese newspaper Yomiuri.

Japan is seen as a ‘primary target’ of nearby North Korea’s weapons capabilities and fears that Pyongyang’s nuclear program is ‘growing unabated’, experts say.

Hopes for a breakthrough were revived when Trump and Kim shook hands in an impromptu meeting in the border zone on June 30.

At that meeting, Trump became the first sitting U.S. President to step over the border into North Korean territory.

But matters have since worsened again amid a row over military drills in South Korea.

There are close to 30,000 US troops stationed in South Korea and their annual drills with tens of thousands of South Korean soldiers have always infuriated the North.

Washington has insisted on complete denuclearisation as a condition for lifting punishing U.S. sanctions.

Stephen Biegun, the U.S. envoy on North Korea, was in Seoul this week to meet with South Korean officials, and said he was prepared to engage with North Korea ‘as soon as we hear from our counterparts.’

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