North Korea

Experts estimate that North Korea may have enough plutonium and highly enriched uranium for 20 to 25 nuclear weapons, a tiny amount compared to nations like China, the United States or Russia. But the crisis with North Korea presents one of the greatest global security threats today. And the crisis is only getting worse as Pyongyang races to develop its ability to strike targets farther and farther away.

Verbal threats and other provocations between the North and the US have stoked this growing fire, bringing us to the brink of war in mid 2017. North Korea has developed an ICBM capable of reaching the United States and reportedly has a miniaturized nuclear warhead to match. If diplomatic action isn’t taken soon, it may be only a matter of time before a devastating regional war breaks out in the region. Threatening military action 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. Ploughshares Fund and its grantees are committed to preventing a humanitarian catastrophe and finding a peaceful resolution to the North Korea crisis.

Latest News and Analysis on Nuclear Weapons in North Korea

  • 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
  • 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