North Korea

Experts guess that North Korea has less than ten 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 early 2017. If diplomatic action isn’t taken soon, it is only a matter of time before North Korea develops an ICBM capable of reaching the United States – or a devastating regional war breaks out in the region.

Applying more sanctions and 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

  • It will be days or weeks before the world knows much about the nuclear test conducted by North Korea mid-day Tuesday local time in Pyongyang. What was its actual yield? What did it use – plutonium or highly enriched uranium, or some combination? Did it perform as expected? What will the international response be? Is this a game changer?

    February 12, 2013 - By Paul Carroll
  • With the real possibility of Syria’s use of chemical weapons and the security of their stockpiles in question, the comparison to a nuclear scenario is not hard to imagine.

    December 18, 2012 - By Jessica Sleight
  • As the United Nations Security Council considers a response to the North Korean missile launch, I’d like to offer my view on the immediate “winners and losers” from this episode.

    December 12, 2012 - By Paul Carroll
  • I just returned from a week in Beijing. What a change. Scores of modern skyscrapers with international brand names and products emblazoned atop have sprung up where none existed as little as five years ago. Shining shopping malls are filled with the latest fashions and products.  Streets are choked with thousands of cars and buses where packs of bicycles and motorcycles once ruled.

    November 14, 2012 - By Philip Yun
  • Say what you will about North Korea. It’s “backwards,” impoverished, isolated, led by an enigmatic, secretive leader, or even that it is “the land of no smiles” whose people live a life on the edge of survival. To varying degrees, these negative descriptions are true.

    September 27, 2012 - By Paul Carroll
  • Like a big ship, even a country ruled by dictator cannot turn on a dime. It takes time and careful planning to change direction. Is it possible that a course change may be happening in repressive North Korea under its new leader Kim Jong Un?

    August 20, 2012 - By Philip Yun
  • As we all wished a very happy birthday to the United States of America this week, at Ploughshares we were also busy with some spring – make that summer – cleaning. Books made their way onto new shelves, and pamphlets into files. Along the way we found some blasts-from-the-past and other items that left us scratching our heads:

    July 5, 2012 - By Nora Wilkinson
  • Recently, we’ve heard a great deal about the possibility of a third nuclear test in North Korea.

    June 12, 2012 - By Megan Murphy
  • The following is a guest post from Ashish Sinha, Program Manager at Physicians for Social Responsibility.

    In recent weeks, nuclear-capable missile tests by North Korea, India, and Pakistan have reminded all of us why national security experts continue to feel South Asia and the Korean Peninsula represent among the highest risks to international peace and stability.

    May 8, 2012 - By admin
  • Ploughshares Fund grantee, Jeffrey Lewis, broke a major story this week creating headlines around the country.

    April 27, 2012 - By Joe Cirincione