US Korea Institute

Tuesday February 21st 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.

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 [...]

North Korea’s Space Launch: An Initial Assessment

North Korea’s Space Launch: An Initial Assessment

At first glance, North Korea’s launch of an Unha Space Launch Vehicle (SLV) on February 7, 2016, looks very much like a repeat of its successful launch a little over three years ago. In fact, a close examination reveals that the North appears to have used some stock footage of the 2012 launch in its announcement this time around. But there are [...]

Satellites, Warheads and Rockets: Is North Korea’s Space Program Really about Missile Development?

Satellites, Warheads and Rockets: Is North Korea’s Space Program Really about Missile Development?

  This article was originally published on September 28, 2015 but reprinted on February 5, 2016. When the Soviet Union shocked the world and opened the Space Age on October 4, 1957, it was not a coincidence that its first satellite was launched into orbit on a modified R-7 intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM). For many observers, [...]

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