US Korea Institute

Thursday May 28th 2015
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WMD

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.

The Great 2010 DPRK Nuclear Test Debate: Summarizing the Evidence of a Low-Yield Nuclear Test Carried out in North Korea in May 2010

The Great 2010 DPRK Nuclear Test Debate: Summarizing the Evidence of a Low-Yield Nuclear Test Carried out in North Korea in May 2010

On April 28, 2015 Jeffrey Lewis as well as Joel Wit and Sun Young Ahn posted on 38 North their negative (Lewis) and inconclusive (Wit and Ahn with some additional indications via satellite imagery) views on whether or not the North Koreans actually carried out a low-yield nuclear test in May 2010. As I started this debate with an article in [...]

The Great 2010 DPRK Nuclear Test Debate

The Great 2010 DPRK Nuclear Test Debate

  * This article was modified by May 1, 2015, updating footnote 12.  In 2010, two radionuclide stations in Northeast Asia detected radioactive particles that seemed to indicate that a nuclear explosion had taken place. While there are other possible explanations, other evidence seemed to suggest that North Korea had conducted a very [...]

The WMD Challenges Posed by a Collapse of North Korea

The WMD Challenges Posed by a Collapse of North Korea

North Korea’s weapons of mass destruction (WMD) pose a number of challenges, particularly how to find and secure those weapons if the regime collapses. This paper will look briefly at 1) North Korea’s nuclear, chemical and biological programs; 2) activities coalition forces might conduct in a collapse scenario; and 3) challenges posed by an [...]

Where’s That North Korean ICBM Everyone Was Talking About?

Where’s That North Korean ICBM Everyone Was Talking About?

The past year might seem to have been one of conspicuous inactivity in North Korea’s long-range rocket program. The last flight test was the December 2012 launch of an Unha-3 carrying North Korea’s first successful satellite. Since then we have seen only the usual Scuds and Nodongs and possibly an improved variant of the short-range, [...]

Further Shades of Grey: North Korea Sanctions and the 2015 UN Panel of Experts Report

Further Shades of Grey: North Korea Sanctions and the 2015 UN Panel of Experts Report

United Nations Security Council Resolutions are not known for their specificity. They tend to include vague wording agreeable to the 15 nations present at the time, which leaves substantial space for interpretation or ignorance once Member States are told to go forth and implement. The three resolutions that form the core of the sanctions regime [...]

Future Directions in the DPRK’s Nuclear Weapons Program: Three Scenarios for 2020

Future Directions in the DPRK’s Nuclear Weapons Program: Three Scenarios for 2020

Like many secret nuclear weapons programs, the DPRK goes to great lengths to hide its capabilities to produce nuclear explosive materials and nuclear weapons. Despite these actions, a picture can be drawn of North Korea’s current and projected plutonium and weapons-grade uranium (WGU) stocks. Knowing these plutonium and WGU stocks can, in turn, [...]

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Credit for photo of young North Korean girl: T.M. All rights reserved, used with permission.