The realities of North Korea’s WMD ambitions are complex but so are the technological developments that make its programs possible. We will help our readers understand both.
Last weekend, North Korea responded to a UN Security Council condemnation of its missile launches by warning of “next-stage steps which the enemy can hardly imagine,” including “a new form of nuclear test for bolstering up its nuclear deterrence.” Golly, that sounds awfully hostile. A “new form” of nuclear test? My thoughts [...]
“Safety First—Not One Accident Can Occur”: Nuclear Safety and North Korea’s Quest to Build a Light Water Reactor
In 2010, when the first Americans were allowed to visit North Korea’s new experimental light water reactor (ELWR), among the signs located at the construction site, one stood out to the group. It was a warning: “Safety first—not one accident can occur!” Early in the construction of the reactor, North Korea appeared to be making a visible [...]
In recent weeks, a number of news outlets have reported that North Korea may be readying for another nuclear weapons explosion at its test site. The stories resulted from a remark by the South Korean Minister of Defense, who told lawmakers in Seoul that North Korea had finished preparations for another test at its Punggye-ri nuclear test [...]
This article is co-authored by Jeffrey Lewis, Melissa Hanham and Amber Lee. On April 15, 2012, North Korea paraded what appeared to be six road-mobile missiles, quickly identified in the media as KN-08 intercontinental ballistic missiles (ICBM), through Kim Il Sung Square in Pyongyang. Attention immediately focused on these unusual vehicles, [...]
In 2012, I attended a Track II meeting with some North Koreans where they mentioned a series of space launches. A series, I asked? They didn’t want to say more, but left me with the distinct impression that we’ll be seeing a lot more launches from the DPRK. After that meeting, North Korea tried twice—a failed launch in April and then [...]
This is 1977 photograph of a mockup of an MX missile, later named the Peacekeeper. We begin our discussion of North Korea’s Hwaseong-13 road-mobile, intercontinental ballistic missile with this image to make a point that should be obvious: It is not unusual for countries to build mockups or simulators of missiles as an early step in the process [...]