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

  • Grantee Spotlight: Joel Wit on North Korea

    The North conducted its fourth nuclear weapons test in January, and after launching an intermediate-range ballistic missile on June 21, leader Kim Jong-un boasted that his arsenal could hit US forces in the Pacific.  To find out more about what is going on – and what the US should do about it...

    June 28, 2016 - By Will Lowry
  • North Korea Just Got a Little Scarier

    South Korea claims that North Korea has miniaturized a nuclear warhead to fit on the tip of a missile. They are probably right.

    April 6, 2016 - By Joe Cirincione
  • The West Must Talk to North Korea

    "Rushing to talks with Pyongyang makes no sense and the political obstacles to getting there are great. But eventual engagement is imperative" -- a sober assessment from an author concerned not with reactive "make-us-feel-better" short term policy thinking, but rather long term strategy for...

    January 15, 2016 - By Philip Yun
  • 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