US Korea Institute

Thursday January 19th 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.

North Korean and Chinese Nuclear Weapons Development: Two Peas in a Pod?

North Korean and Chinese Nuclear Weapons Development: Two Peas in a Pod?

North Korea’s rapid nuclear and missile development has intensified the debate over the efficacy of US and South Korean policies toward Pyongyang. Comparing North Korea’s weapons development to China’s own arms activities can contextualize these discussions, in part by highlighting the remarkable speed with which North Korea has accomplished [...]

Musudan Could Be Operational Sooner Than Expected

Musudan Could Be Operational Sooner Than Expected

North Korea seems to have tested its Musudan missile seven times this year, with only a single clear success to show for it. But the North Koreans aren’t simply repeating old failures.  And they aren’t taking the slow path to developing a reliable system, with a year or so between each test to analyze the data and make improvements. That has [...]

North Korea-Iran Missile Cooperation

North Korea-Iran Missile Cooperation

North Korea’s ground test of a powerful, liquid-fueled engine on September 20, and the launch of three modified-Scud missiles earlier this month renewed allegations that Pyongyang and Tehran are collaborating on ballistic-missile development. The accusations are mostly speculative, based largely on the apparent similarities of ballistic missiles [...]

North Korea’s Largest Engine Test Yet

North Korea’s Largest Engine Test Yet

Summary On September 20, KCNA reported that Kim Jong Un had overseen the testing of a large new rocket engine at the Sohae Satellite Launching Station. They claimed this new engine had a thrust of 80 tons and would be use for a new space launch vehicle. Rocket engine thrust isn’t normally measured in “tons,” and there is some ambiguity [...]

What to Make of North Korea’s Latest Nuclear Test?

What to Make of North Korea’s Latest Nuclear Test?

Image: Shutterstock On September 9, 2016, seismic stations around the world picked up the unmistakable signals of another North Korean underground nuclear test in the vicinity of Punggye-ri. The technical details about the test will be sorted out over the next few weeks, but the political message is already loud and clear: North Korea will [...]

North Korea’s SLBM Program Progresses, But Still Long Road Ahead

North Korea’s SLBM  Program Progresses, But Still Long Road Ahead

The success of North Korea’s latest submarine-launched ballistic missile (SLBM) test suggests the program may be progressing faster than originally expected. However, this does not mean it will be ready next week, next month, or even next year. Rather, the pace and method of the North’s SLBM testing would suggest possible deployment in an [...]

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