US Korea Institute

Thursday July 28th 2016
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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.

A Partial Success for the Musudan: Addendum

A Partial Success for the Musudan: Addendum

North Korea has just released an image of Kim Jong Un posing in front of a Musudan missile (Hwasong-10) with the reentry vehicle removed. In addition to showing the grid fins in their stowed configuration, this view shows us the missile’s guidance package. The resolution is not high enough to positively identify specific components or [...]

KMS-4 Nose Fairing Debris Found on Japanese Coast

KMS-4 Nose Fairing Debris Found on Japanese Coast

A 38 North exclusive with analysis by Nathan Hunt and Jack Liu. Summary On June 17, more than four months after North Korea launched the Kwangmyongsong-4 (KMS-4) satellite, the Japanese Defense Ministry reported the discovery of the second half of the launch vehicle nose fairing on a beach in Yurihama, Tottori Prefecture, about 1000 km [...]

A Partial Success for the Musudan

A Partial Success for the Musudan

Summary North Korea’s latest Musudan (Hwasong-10) missile test finally demonstrated the full performance of the missile’s propulsion system, and at least a minimally functional guidance system. The trajectory was not representative of an operational launch, and so leaves open questions about the performance of the reentry vehicle. Perhaps [...]

Needle in a Haystack: How North Korea Could Fight a Nuclear War

Needle in a Haystack: How North Korea Could Fight a Nuclear War

Since its January 6 test of what was claimed to be a hydrogen bomb and a follow-up satellite launch on February 7, North Korea’s nuclear weapons program has received a considerable amount of attention. The United Nations Security Council (UNSC) unanimously passed Resolution 2270 at the beginning of March in what has been widely viewed as one of [...]

Three (or Four) Strikes for the Musudan?

Three (or Four) Strikes for the Musudan?

North Korea has reportedly tried and failed to launch a Musudan missile for a third time in two months. It is not surprising that a new missile would fail on its first test, but previous North Korean practice has been to stand down for several months to a year before another attempt. Repeating a failed test again and again with no more than a [...]

A New Submarine-Launched Ballistic Missile for North Korea

A New Submarine-Launched Ballistic Missile for North Korea

Summary North Korea has revealed images of a submarine-launched ballistic missile test indicating that it has abandoned the liquid-fuel design that has consistently failed in the past and switched to a more robust solid-propellant system that will have a better chance of actually working in an operational environment. The new design is still in [...]

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