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

  • 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