US Korea Institute

Sunday May 1st 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 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 [...]

North Korea’s Large Rocket Engine Test: A Significant Step Forward for Pyongyang’s ICBM Program

North Korea’s Large Rocket Engine Test: A Significant Step Forward for Pyongyang’s ICBM Program

Summary North Korea’s April 9 test of a large liquid-fuel engine is a disturbing development that not only highlights the growing threat posed by Pyongyang but should also put to rest, once and for all, all claims that the North’s WMD programs are a hoax. In fact, the test demonstrated that North Korea has an even greater capability at a [...]

A Solid but Incremental Improvement in North Korea’s Missiles

A Solid but Incremental Improvement in North Korea’s Missiles

North Korea recently showed images of a large solid-fuel rocket motor test that appears to have been both real and successful. The motor, much bigger than any solid-fuel motor previously seen in the North, is not appropriately sized to be used on any existing missile in Pyongyang’s stockpile. Rather, a more likely role for the motor is as the [...]

Nukes They Can Use? The Danger of North Korea Going Tactical

Nukes They Can Use? The Danger of North Korea Going Tactical

On March 2, 2016, Kim Jong Un gave direction to the military to “get the nuclear warheads deployed for national defense always on standby so as to be fired at any moment.” The North reiterated versions of this formulation for days afterwards, including a “preemptive nuclear strike of justice.” These threats drew international attention [...]

The New UNSC Sanctions Resolution on North Korea: A Deep Dive Assessment

The New UNSC Sanctions Resolution on North Korea: A Deep Dive Assessment

UN Security Council Resolution 2270, passed on March 2, 2016, substantially shifts the multilateral sanctions regime on North Korea. It not only bolsters existing provisions, but also moves beyond sanctions that rest on determinations that a proscribed activity has taken place, such as arms-related proliferation. Photo: Brendan [...]

North Korea Launches Another Large Rocket: Consequences and Options

North Korea Launches Another Large Rocket: Consequences and Options

On February 7, 2016, North Korea boosted a small satellite into space from the Sohae Satellite Launching Station using a three-stage, liquid-fueled Unha rocket. According to a CBS News report, the Kwangmyongsong-4 satellite is orbiting earth, but is tumbling and likely inoperative. The controversial launch violates numerous United Nations Security [...]

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