North Korea

Experts guess that North Korea has less than ten nuclear weapons, a tiny amount compared to nations like China, the US or Russia. But the Hermit Kingdom’s unpredictable and belligerent behavior — on one of the world’s last remaining Cold War fault lines — make it an outsized threat to global safety and security.

Simply continuing past policies  —  applying more sanctions and beefing up military capabilities in the region  —  will almost certainly fail, but more ominously will likely result in one or more of three outcomes, all of them bad: accidental war or military miscalculation; weapons-grade plutonium or uranium secreted out of North Korea; and Pyongyang increasing its leverage by continuing to produce fissile material.

Latest News and Analysis on Nuclear Weapons in North Korea

  • North Korea doesn't have an H-bomb

    The bad news is North Korea just tested another nuclear weapon, in flagrant violation of the global norm against such tests observed by all other nations since 1998.

    January 8, 2016 - By Will Lowry
  • Models for US policy towards North Korea

    On Democracy Now, Ploughshares Fund president Joe Cirincione suggests a question for thinking about US policy towards North Korea as it relates to their 4th nuclear weapons test: which is a better model -- the Iraq War or the Iran deal?

    January 7, 2016 - By Will Lowry
  • Browsing the headlines, the world looks a dangerous place. Boko Haram is bombing its way across Nigeria, civil war in Syria, transnational terrorism and more. But the biggest danger is conspicuously...

    July 11, 2014 - By Eric Sutphin
  • As the P5+1 negotiations with Iran continue, there are grounds for optimism that an agreement can be reached by the July 20th deadline. A deal would be a significant achievement in the ongoing battle against the proliferation of nuclear weapons. But this raises the question: what...

    July 2, 2014 - By Eric Sutphin
  • North Korea's nuclear program is making headlines once again, as the hermit kingdom tested two ballistic missiles, exchanged fire with South Korea and threatened a nuclear test. Just how worried should we be about North Korea? To find out, Ploughshares Fund sat down with grantee Joel Wit, experienced U.S. diplomat and an expert on North Korea. 

    April 2, 2014 - By admin
  • December is usually a time to look forward to surprises. The year’s end, holiday events and gift giving are a time to reflect, appreciate and look forward to what the New Year may bring.

    But there is one surprise I’d rather not have – wondering what North Korea might do next.

    December 12, 2013 - By Paul Carroll
  • Some anniversaries are bittersweet.  This week marks the seven year anniversary of North Korea’s first nuclear test.

    October 8, 2013 - By Paul Carroll
  • North Korea is not only one of the world's most problematic nuclear weapons hotspots, it's also one of the world's most isolated states.It's hard to understand what life must be like for people living in the hermit kingdom, and even more difficult to know what's happening in the nation's extensive gulag prison system. 

    September 9, 2013 - By Molly Maser
  • Eisenhower wanted it; Kennedy almost got it; Clinton negotiated it; and now Obama can deliver it.  It is the longest-sought, hardest-fought for goal in the history of nuclear arms control: a global ban on nuclear weapons tests.

    August 20, 2013 - By Joe Cirincione
  • The debate over Syria’s possible use of chemical weapons has been dominating the headlines. Were deadly nerve agents used? If so by whom? Was the use intentional? These questions are important since President Obama has intimated that, if confirmed, the use of chemical weapons could change U.S. policy toward the Syrian civil war. The specifics of what the United States would do differently are unclear. What is clear, though, is that the use of chemical weapons characteristically changes the way we perceive the conflict. It is, as Obama stated, a “game changer.”

    May 10, 2013 - By Paul Carroll