US Korea Institute

Monday January 16th 2017
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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.

How Might North Korea Test an ICBM?

How Might North Korea Test an ICBM?

In his 2017 New Year’s Address, Kim Jong Un mentioned (among many other things) that North Korea had “entered the final stage of preparation for the test launch of intercontinental ballistic missile.” It should be noted that this was neither the focus of his speech—which, for the most part, was a list of last year’s accomplishments—nor [...]

Surface Disturbances at the Punggye-ri Nuclear Test Site: Another Indicator of Nuclear Testing?

Surface Disturbances at the Punggye-ri Nuclear Test Site: Another Indicator of Nuclear Testing?

Abstract A review of available very high-resolution commercial satellite imagery (bracketing the time of North Korea’s most recent underground nuclear test on September 9, 2016 at the Punggye-ri nuclear test site) has led to the detection and identification of several minor surface disturbances on the southern flank of Mt. Mantap. These [...]

North Korean Underground Facility: Probably Not a Ballistic Missile Silo

North Korean Underground Facility: Probably Not a Ballistic Missile Silo

A recent report by Voice of America provided an analytical assessment of a small North Korean installation located in North Pyongan Province near Kumchang-ri concluding that it is a possible ballistic missile silo. Based on an analysis of Google Earth imagery and a comparison with an installation with missile silos in Iran and several facilities [...]

North Korea’s Musudan Missile: A Performance Assessment

North Korea’s Musudan Missile: A Performance Assessment

Introduction During a military parade in 2010, a mockup of a new North Korean ballistic missile was driven through Pyongyang on a transporter-erector-launcher (TEL). This missile has since been called by many names depending on the public source: North Korean labels correspond to “Hwasong-10,” stories speculating about sales refer to the [...]

Punggye-ri Nuclear Test Site: No Indications that a Test is Imminent

Punggye-ri Nuclear Test Site: No Indications that a Test is Imminent

A 38 North exclusive with analysis by Joseph S. Bermudez, Jr. and Jack Liu. Summary Recent commercial satellite imagery from October 29 and November 9 shows continued low-level activity at the Punggye-ri Nuclear Test Facility. This activity suggests that maintenance and minor excavation operations are taking place at the North and West [...]

Flashback to the Past: North Korea’s “New” Extended-Range Scud

Flashback to the Past: North Korea’s “New” Extended-Range Scud

Summary At 12:14 p.m. on September 5, 2016, North Korea launched three missiles within one minute of each other from a highway south of Pyongyang. All three launches were successful; the missiles reportedly each covered a distance of 1,000 km and landed about 240 km west of Okushirito Island, part of the Japanese prefecture of Hokkaido. The [...]

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