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

  • 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
  • Everyone’s talking about North Korea’s missile launch this week. And sure, it’s a big deal, but it’s not the end of the world. Here’s some quick behind-the-news perspectives to help parse facts from fear-mongering.

    April 11, 2012 - By Philip Yun
  • Nuclear terrorism ranks at the top of many national security experts lists of possible nightmares. It’s hard to overstate the damage that could be caused by even a small nuclear weapon in one of the world’s major population centers. But just as terrorism has become a global phenomenon, efforts to prevent nuclear terrorism has to be a global effort. Thankfully, it is.

    March 22, 2012 - By Margaret Swink
  • Critics of a recent deal between North Korea and the United States had barely caught their breath before an announcement today by Pyongyang that North Korea plans to launch a satellite atop a long-range rocket in mid-April. It’s hard to argue that this isn’t a setback. But it’s also premature to write the whole thing off.

    March 16, 2012 - By Paul Carroll
  • Kim Jong Il has been dead eight weeks, and commentators are still treating his successor, Kim Jong Un, as if he’s the latest celebrity teen star. But there’s more at stake than speculation over the young Kim’s staying power.

    February 7, 2012 - By Philip Yun
  • It's been a memorable year in nuclear policy. From Fukushima to Iran, the world was reminded just how dangerous nuclear technology can be. But hope continues to remain amidst the challenges. As the year draws to a close, here's a look back at some of the hottest nuclear stories of 2011.

    December 28, 2011 - By Margaret Swink
  • Kim Jong Il is dead. While for many this may seem like a day long planned, now that it is upon us it is no less frightening.

    December 18, 2011 - By Paul Carroll