US Korea Institute

Monday August 31st 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.

North Korea’s Sohae Facility: No Sign of Launch Preparations; New Construction at Engine Test Stand

North Korea’s Sohae Facility: No Sign of Launch Preparations; New Construction at Engine Test Stand

A 38 North exclusive with analysis by Jack Liu and Joseph S. Bermudez Summary Despite speculation that Pyongyang intends to conduct its fourth long-range rocket launch on the 70th anniversary of the founding of the Workers’ Party of Korea in October, with less than two months to go, recent commercial satellite imagery still shows no signs [...]

Recent Imagery Suggests Increased Uranium Production in North Korea, Probably for Expanding Nuclear Weapons Stockpile and Reactor Fuel

Recent Imagery Suggests Increased Uranium Production in North Korea, Probably for Expanding Nuclear Weapons Stockpile and Reactor Fuel

Summary North Korea is expanding its capacity to mine and mill natural uranium. Recent commercial satellite imagery shows that, over the past year, Pyongyang has begun to refurbish a major mill located near Pyongsan that turns uranium ore into yellowcake. The renovation suggests that North Korea is preparing to expand the production of uranium [...]

Kim Jong Un Tours Pesticide Facility Capable of Producing Biological Weapons: A 38 North Special Report

Kim Jong Un Tours Pesticide Facility Capable of Producing Biological Weapons: A 38 North Special Report

Executive Summary North Korea’s biological weapons program got a lot less secret on June 6, 2015. The same day that a defector reportedly fled the country carrying 15 GB of human testing data, North Korea’s state media published photos of Kim Jong Un touring a facility ostensibly for the production of pesticides. However analysis of the [...]

Is North Korea Gearing Up for Another Space Launch?

Is North Korea Gearing Up for Another Space Launch?

On May 8, KCNA carried a typically vituperative essay by North Korea’s national space authority stating that “No matter who dares grumble and no matter how all hostile forces challenge the launch, satellites of Juche Korea will soar into the space one after another at the time and place designated and decided by the supreme leadership of the [...]

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 [...]

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