US Korea Institute

Sunday February 26th 2017
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Military Affairs

Analysis of North Korea’s military policy and capabilities.

A Partial Success for the Musudan

A Partial Success for the Musudan

Summary North Korea’s latest Musudan (Hwasong-10) missile test finally demonstrated the full performance of the missile’s propulsion system, and at least a minimally functional guidance system. The trajectory was not representative of an operational launch, and so leaves open questions about the performance of the reentry vehicle. Perhaps [...]

Three (or Four) Strikes for the Musudan?

Three (or Four) Strikes for the Musudan?

North Korea has reportedly tried and failed to launch a Musudan missile for a third time in two months. It is not surprising that a new missile would fail on its first test, but previous North Korean practice has been to stand down for several months to a year before another attempt. Repeating a failed test again and again with no more than a [...]

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 [...]

Location of KN-08 Reentry Vehicle Nosecone Test Identified

Location of KN-08 Reentry Vehicle Nosecone Test Identified

A 38 North exclusive with analysis by Joseph S. Bermudez Jr. and Henry Kan. On March 15, North Korean media carried photographs of Kim Jong Un as he observed and guided a test of the nose cone for what appears to be the KN-08 intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) reentry vehicle. The photographs show a vertical engine test stand that, while [...]

Five Things You Need to Know about Kim Jong Un’s Photo Op with the Bomb

Five Things You Need to Know about Kim Jong Un’s Photo Op with the Bomb

(Photo: Rodong Sinmun) On March 9, KCNA and Rodong Sinmun announced that Kim Jong Un had visited a facility where he learned about North Korea’s progress in mating nuclear weapons to ballistic missiles. A subsequent television broadcast included more than dozen still images from the visit. Not only did Kim Jong Un pose with a number of [...]

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