US Korea Institute

Saturday August 1st 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.

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 [...]

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, [...]

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