North Korea and weapons of mass destruction

"Nuclear program of North Korea" redirects here. For its nuclear power program, see Nuclear power in North Korea.
Democratic People's Republic of Korea
First nuclear weapon test 9 October 2006
Last nuclear test 9 September 2016[1]
Largest yield test
  • 10 (South Korean estimates)[2] - 30 kt(Estimation from Jeffrey Lewis of the California-based Middlebury Institute of International Studies)[3]
  • Yield is always disputed, since North Korea government never announced the exact yield among other factors such as the depth of the test took place and soil condition in the test site.
Total tests 5
Current stockpile (usable and not) 15–22 nuclear weapons equivalents? (rough 2015 ISIS estimate)[4]
Current strategic arsenal 10–16 nuclear weapons? (rough 2015 estimate)[4]
Cumulative strategic arsenal in megatonnage <0.5 (2011 ISIS estimate)[5]
Maximum missile range 4,000 km (Hwasong-10)
NPT party No, because it withdrew in 2003

North Korea and weapons of mass destruction concerns North Korea (officially the Democratic People's Republic of Korea or DPRK), which declared in 2009 that it had developed a nuclear weapon, and possessed a small stockpile of relatively simple nuclear weapons. North Korea may also have a chemical weapon and/or biological weapons capability.[6] Since 2003, North Korea is no longer a party to the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons.[7]

On October 9, 2006, North Korea announced it had successfully conducted its first nuclear test. An underground nuclear explosion was detected, its yield was estimated as less than a kiloton, and some radioactive output was detected.[8][9][10]

On January 6, 2007, the North Korean government further confirmed that it had nuclear weapons.[11]

In April 2009, reports surfaced that North Korea has become a "fully fledged nuclear power", an opinion shared by International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) Director General Mohamed ElBaradei.[12] On May 25, 2009, North Korea conducted a second nuclear test, resulting in an explosion estimated to be between 2 and 7 kilotons.[13] The 2009 test, like the 2006 test, is believed to have occurred at Mantapsan, Kilju County, in the north-eastern part of North Korea.[14]

On February 11, 2013, the U.S. Geological Survey detected a magnitude 5.1 seismic disturbance,[15] reported to be a third underground nuclear test.[16] North Korea has officially reported it as a successful nuclear test with a lighter warhead that delivers more force than before, but has not revealed the exact yield. Multiple South Korean sources estimate the yield at 6–9 kilotons, while the German Federal Institute for Geosciences and Natural Resources estimates the yield at 40 kilotons.[17][18][19] However, the German estimates has since revised to a yield equivalent of 14 kt when they published their estimations in 2016 Jan.[20]

On January 6, 2016 in Korea, the United States Geological Survey detected a magnitude 5.1 seismic disturbance,[21] reported to be a fourth underground nuclear test.[22] North Korea claimed that this test involved a hydrogen bomb. This claim has not been verified. Within hours, many nations and organizations had condemned the test.[23] Expert U.S. analysts do not believe that a hydrogen bomb was detonated. Seismic data collected so far suggests a 6-9 kiloton yield and that magnitude is not consistent with the power that would be generated by a hydrogen bomb explosion. "What we're speculating is they tried to do a boosted nuclear device, which is an atomic bomb that has a little bit of hydrogen, an isotope in it called tritium," said Joseph Cirincione, president of the global security firm Ploughshares Fund.[24] The German source which estimates for all the North Korea's past nuclear test has instead made an initial estimation of 14 kt, which is about the same (revised) yield as its previous nuclear test in 2013.[20] However the yield estimation for January 2016 nuclear test was revised to 10 kt in the subsequent nuclear test from North Korea.[25]

On February 7, 2016, roughly a month after the alleged hydrogen bomb test, North Korea claimed to have put a satellite into orbit around the Earth. Japanese Prime Minister Shinzō Abe had warned the North to not launch the rocket, and if it did and the rocket violated Japanese territory, it would be shot down. Nevertheless, North Korea launched the rocket anyway, claiming the satellite was purely intended for peaceful, scientific purposes. Several nations, including the United States, Japan, and South Korea, have criticized the launch, and despite North Korean claims that the rocket was for peaceful purposes, it has been heavily criticized as an attempt to perform an ICBM test under the guise of a peaceful satellite launch. China also criticized the launch, however urged "the relevant parties" to "refrain from taking actions that may further escalate tensions on the Korean peninsula".[26]

A fifth nuclear test occurred on September 9, 2016. This test yield is considered the highest among all five tests thus far, surpassing its previous record in 2013. The South Korean government has been underestimating the test yield for years (Especially the 2013 test, where South Korea Defense Ministry initially suggests a 6 kt to 7 kt yield but has later revised upwards to maximum 9 kt by using the Comprehensive Nuclear Test Ban Treaty Organization’s calculation method[17] when the Chinese academics suggests about 12 kt yield[27] as well as NORSAR estimates the yield to be about 10 kilotons after they have compared the seismic data from all three North Korean nuclear tests.[28]), but has acknowledged that the yield of September 2016 nuclear test is about 10 kt[2] despite other sources suggesting a 20 to 30 kt yield.[3] The same German source which has made estimation of all North Korea's previous nuclear tests suggested an estimation of a 25 kiloton yield.[25]

Other nations and the United Nations have responded to North Korea's ongoing missile and nuclear development with a variety of sanctions; on March 2, 2016, the UN Security Council voted to impose additional sanctions against North Korea.[29]


The nuclear program can be traced back to about 1962, when North Korea committed itself to what it called "all-fortressization", which was the beginning of the hyper-militarized North Korea of today.[30] In 1963, North Korea asked the Soviet Union for help in developing nuclear weapons, but was refused. The Soviet Union agreed to help North Korea develop a peaceful nuclear energy program, including the training of nuclear scientists. Later, China, after its nuclear tests, similarly rejected North Korean requests for help with developing nuclear weapons.[31]

Soviet specialists took part in the construction of the Yongbyon Nuclear Scientific Research Center[32] and began construction of an IRT-2000 research reactor in 1963, which became operational in 1965 and was upgraded to 8 MW in 1974.[33] In 1979 North Korea indigenously began to build in Yongbyon a second research reactor, an ore processing plant and a fuel rod fabrication plant.[34]

North Korea's nuclear weapons program dates back to the 1980s. Focusing on practical uses of nuclear energy and the completion of a nuclear weapon development system, North Korea began to operate facilities for uranium fabrication and conversion, and conducted high-explosive detonation tests.[30] In 1985 North Korea ratified the NPT, but did not conclude the required safeguards agreement with the IAEA until 1992.[35] In early 1993, while verifying North Korea's initial declaration, the IAEA concluded that there was strong evidence this declaration was incomplete. When North Korea refused the requested special inspection, the IAEA reported its non-compliance to the UN Security Council. In 1993, North Korea announced its withdrawal from the NPT, but suspended that withdrawal before it took effect.[35]

Under the 1994 Agreed Framework, the U.S. government agreed to facilitate the supply of two light water reactors to North Korea in exchange for North Korean disarmament.[36][37] Such reactors are considered "more proliferation-resistant than North Korea's graphite-moderated reactors",[38] but not "proliferation proof".[39] Implementation of the Agreed Framework floundered, and in 2002 the Agreed Framework fell apart, with each side blaming the other for its failure. By 2002, Pakistan had admitted that North Korea had gained access to Pakistan's nuclear technology in the late 1990s.[40]

Based on evidence from Pakistan, Libya, and multiple confessions from North Korea itself, the United States accused North Korea of non-compliance and halted oil shipments; North Korea later claimed its public confession of guilt had been deliberately misconstrued. By the end of 2002, the Agreed Framework was officially abandoned.

In 2003, North Korea again announced its withdrawal from the Nuclear Proliferation Treaty.[35] In 2005, it admitted to having nuclear weapons but vowed to close the nuclear program.[41][42]

On March 17, 2007, North Korea told delegates at international nuclear talks that it is preparing to shut down its main nuclear facility. The agreement was reached following a series of six-party talks, involving North Korea, South Korea, China, Russia, Japan, and the United States begun in 2003. According to the agreement, a list of its nuclear programs will be submitted and the nuclear facility will be disabled in exchange for fuel aid and normalization talks with the United States and Japan.[43] This was delayed from April due to a dispute with the United States over Banco Delta Asia, but on July 14, International Atomic Energy Agency inspectors confirmed the shutdown of North Korea's Yongbyon nuclear reactor and consequently North Korea began to receive aid.[44] This agreement fell apart in 2009, following a North Korean missile test.

In February 2012, North Korea announced that it would suspend uranium enrichment at the Yongbyon Nuclear Scientific Research Center and not conduct any further tests of nuclear weapons while productive negotiations involving the United States continue. This agreement included a moratorium on long-range missiles tests. Additionally, North Korea agreed to allow IAEA inspectors to monitor operations at Yongbyon. The United States reaffirmed that it had no hostile intent toward the DPRK and was prepared to improve bilateral relationships, and agreed to ship humanitarian food aid to North Korea.[45][46][47] The United States called the move "important, if limited", but said it would proceed cautiously and that talks would resume only after North Korea made steps toward fulfilling its promise.[45] However, after North Korea conducted a long-range missile test in April 2012, the United States decided not to proceed with the food aid.[48]

Nuclear weapons


Early support for complete multilateral nuclear disarmament during a 1989 student festival in Pyongyang, prior to the DPRK officially gaining nuclear weapons.

The Korean Central News Agency claims that "The Bush administration's DPRK policy that stemmed from its ignorance of the DPRK resulted in making the DPRK a nuclear weapons state."[49] North Korea had been suspected of maintaining a clandestine nuclear weapons development program since the early 1980s, when it constructed a plutonium-producing Magnox nuclear reactor at Yongbyon. Various diplomatic means had been used by the international community to attempt to limit North Korea's nuclear program to peaceful power generation and to encourage North Korea to participate in international treaties.[35] During the 13th World Festival of Youth and Students held in the DPRK in 1989, South Korean activist and "Flower of Reunification" Lim Su-kyung implied that the DPRK was not seeking nuclear weapons, saying: "The slogan 'Let us build a new world free from nuclear weapons!' will not be materialized by words alone. I'd like you to resolutely struggle against the anti-reunification forces, and give us support and encouragement. I, too, want to live in a country free from nuclear weapons; in my own land, and not infested with foreign forces and foreign army troops."[50]

In May 1992, North Korea's first inspection by the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) uncovered discrepancies suggesting that North Korea had reprocessed more plutonium than declared. IAEA requested access to additional information and access to two nuclear waste sites at Yongbyon.[35][51][52] North Korea rejected the IAEA request and announced on March 12, 1993, an intention to withdraw from the NPT.[35]

In 1994, North Korea pledged, under the "Agreed Framework" with the United States, to freeze its plutonium programs and dismantle all its nuclear weapons programs in return for several kinds of assistance, including construction of two modern nuclear power plants powered by light-water reactors.

By 2002, the United States believed that North Korea was pursuing both uranium enrichment technology and plutonium reprocessing technologies in defiance of the Agreed Framework. North Korea reportedly told American diplomats in private that they were in possession of nuclear weapons, citing American failures to uphold their own end of the "Agreed Framework" as a motivating force. North Korea later "clarified" that it did not possess weapons yet, but that it had "a right" to possess them, despite the Agreed Framework. In late 2002 and early 2003, North Korea began to take steps to eject International Atomic Energy Agency inspectors while re-routing spent fuel rods for plutonium reprocessing for weapons purposes. As late as the end of 2003, North Korea claimed that it would freeze its nuclear program in exchange for additional American concessions, but a final agreement was not reached. North Korea withdrew from the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty in 2003.


On October 9, 2006, North Korea demonstrated its nuclear capabilities with its first underground nuclear test, detonating a plutonium based device[53] and the estimated yield was 0.2–1 kiloton.[10] The test was conducted at P'unggye-yok, and U.S. intelligence officials later announced that analysis of radioactive debris in air samples collected a few days after the test confirmed that the blast had taken place.[53] The UN Security Council condemned the test in Resolution 1874.

Aftermath of 2006 Nuclear Test

On January 6, 2007, the North Korean government further confirmed that it had nuclear weapons.[11]

In February 2007, following the six-party talks disarmament process, Pyongyang agreed to shut down its main nuclear reactor.[54] On October 8, 2008, IAEA inspectors were forbidden by the North Korean government to conduct further inspections of the site.[55]


On April 25, 2009, the North Korean government announced that the country's nuclear facilities had been reactivated,[56] and that spent fuel reprocessing for arms-grade plutonium has been restored.[57]

USGS image of the earthquake caused by the nuclear test.

On May 25, 2009, North Korea conducted its second underground nuclear test. The U.S. Geological Survey calculated its origin in proximity of the site of the first nuclear test. The test was more powerful than the previous test, estimated at 2 to 7 kilotons.[13] The same day, a successful short range missile test was also conducted.[53][58]


On February 12, monitors in Asia picked up unusual seismic activity at a North Korean facility at 11:57am (02:57 GMT), later determined to be an artificial quake. with an initial magnitude 4.9 (later revised to 5.1).[59][60] The Korean Central News Agency subsequently said that the country had detonated a miniaturized nuclear device with "greater explosive force" in an underground test.[61] According to the Korea Institute of Geosciences and Mineral Resources, the estimated yield was 7.7–7.8 kilotons.[62]

December 2015 - Hydrogen Bomb claim

In December 2015, Kim Jong-un suggested that the country had the capacity to launch a hydrogen bomb, a device of considerably more power than conventional atomic bombs used in previous tests.[63] The remark was met with skepticism from the White House and from South Korean officials.[64]


First Claimed North Korean Hydrogen Bomb Test

On January 6, after reports of a magnitude 5.1 earthquake originating in northeast North Korea at 10:00:01 UTC+08:30, the country's regime released statements that it had successfully tested a hydrogen bomb. Whether this was in fact a hydrogen bomb has yet to be proven.[65] Experts have cast doubt on this claim.[66] A South Korean spy expert suggested that it may have been an atomic bomb and not a hydrogen bomb.[67] Experts in several countries, including South Korea have expressed doubts about the claimed technology because of the relatively small size of the explosion. Senior Defense Analyst Bruce W. Bennett of research organization RAND told the BBC that "... Kim Jong-un is either lying, saying they did a hydrogen test when they didn't, they just used a little bit more efficient fission weapon – or the hydrogen part of the test really didn't work very well or the fission part didn't work very well."[68]

Aftermath of Claimed Hydrogen Bomb Test
Kim Jong Un, with what North Korea claims is a miniaturized silver spherical nuclear bomb, at a missile factory in early 2016.

On 9 March 2016, North Korea released a video of Kim Jong Un visiting a missile factory.[69] The image was met with doubts. IHS Jane's Karl Dewey said that "It is possible that the silver sphere is a simple atomic bomb. But it is not a hydrogen bomb." Furthermore, he said that "a hydrogen bomb would not only be in two parts but also be a different shape".[70]

Nations across the world, as well as NATO and the UN, have spoken out against the testing as destabilizing, as a danger to international security and as a breach of UN Security Council resolutions.[71] China, one of North Korea's allies, also denounced the test.[72]

First Nuclear Warhead Test explosion

On September 9 a 5.3 seismic tremor was detected by seismograms in surrounding countries, after which North Korea confirmed it conducted another nuclear test.[73] North Korea stated that this test has enable them to confirm that its warhead can be mounted to a missile and to verify the warhead's power.[74] It was previously doubted that North Korea could pair the nuclear warhead and missile together, but South Korean experts started to believe that North Korea can accomplish this goal within a few years after the September 9 nuclear test.[74]

Fissile material production

Plutonium facilities

5 MWe experimental reactor at Yongbyon Nuclear Scientific Research Center

North Korea's plutonium-based nuclear reactors are located at the Yongbyon Nuclear Scientific Research Center, about 90 km north of Pyongyang.

In 1989, the 5MWe reactor was shut down for a period of seventy to a hundred days. In this time it is estimated that up to fifteen kilograms of plutonium could have been extracted. In 1994, North Korea unloaded its reactors again. The IAEA had these under full surveillance until later being denied the ability to observe North Korean power plants.[80] Under normal operation, the reactor can produce about 6 kg of plutonium per year although the reactor would need to be shut down and the fuel rods extracted to begin the plutonium separation process. Hence, plutonium separation stages alternate with plutonium production stages. Reprocessing (also known as separation) is known to have taken place in 2003 for the first core and 2005 for the second core.

On March 12, 1993, North Korea said that it planned to withdraw from the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) and refused to allow IAEA inspectors access to its nuclear sites. By 1994, the United States believed that North Korea had enough reprocessed plutonium to produce about 10 bombs with the amount of plutonium increasing.[85] Faced with diplomatic pressure after UN Security Council Resolution 825 and the threat of American military air strikes against the reactor, North Korea agreed to dismantle its plutonium program as part of the Agreed Framework in which South Korea and the United States would provide North Korea with light water reactors and fuel oil until those reactors could be completed.

Because the light water reactors would require enriched uranium to be imported from outside North Korea, the amount of reactor fuel and waste could be more easily tracked, making it more difficult to divert nuclear waste to be reprocessed into plutonium. However, the Agreed Framework was mired in difficulties, with each side blaming the other for the delays in implementation; as a result, the light water reactors were never finished. In late 2002, after fuel aid was suspended, North Korea returned to using its old reactors.

In 2006, there were eight sites identified as potential test explosion sites for current (and future) tests according to a statement by the South Korean Parliament. These sites are distinguished from a number of other nuclear materials production facilities in that they are thought to be most closely identified with a military, or potentially military purpose:[86]

1. Hamgyong Bukdo (North Hamgyong) Province – 2 Sites:

2. Chagangdo Province – 1 Site: Kanggyesi – Production center of North Korea's advanced equipment and munitions since 1956. Also, extensive intelligence of highly advanced underground facility.

3. Pyongan Bukdo (North Pyongan) Province – 4 Sites:

4. Pyongan Namdo (South Pyongan) Province – 1 Site: Pyongsungsi – Location of National Science Academy and extensive underground facility whose purpose is not known.

Highly enriched uranium program

North Korea possesses uranium mines containing an estimated 4 million tons of high grade uranium ore.[87]

Prime minister Benazir Bhutto of Pakistan allegedly, through Pakistan's former top scientist, Abdul Qadeer Khan, supplied key data, stored on CDs, on uranium enrichment and information to North Korea in exchange for missile technology around 1990–1996, according to U.S. intelligence officials. President Pervez Musharraf and Prime minister Shaukat Aziz acknowledged in 2005 that Khan had provided centrifuges and their designs to North Korea.[88] In May 2008, Khan, who had previously confessed to supplying the data on his own initiative, retracted his confession, claiming that the Pakistan Government forced him to be a "scapegoat". He also claimed that North Korea's nuclear program was well advanced before his visits to North Korea.[89]

Highly enriched uranium (HEU) program was publicized in October 2002 when the United States asked North Korean officials about the program.[90] Under the Agreed Framework, North Korea explicitly agreed to freeze plutonium programs (specifically, its "graphite moderated reactors and related facilities"). The agreement also committed North Korea to implement the Joint Declaration on the Denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula, in which both Koreas committed not to have enrichment or reprocessing facilities. The United States argued North Korea violated its commitment not to have enrichment facilities.

In December 2002, claiming North Korean non-compliance, the United States persuaded the KEDO Board to suspend fuel oil shipments, which led to the end of the Agreed Framework. North Korea responded by announcing plans to reactivate a dormant nuclear fuel processing program and power plant north of Pyongyang. North Korea soon thereafter expelled United Nations inspectors and announced a unilateral "withdrawal" from the Non-Proliferation Treaty.

In 2007, a Bush administration official assessed that, while there was still a "high confidence" that North Korea acquired materials that could be used in a "production-scale" uranium program, there is only a "mid-confidence" level such a production-scale uranium (rather than merely plutonium) program exists.[91][92]

Stockpile estimates and projections

Institute for Science and International Security

For 2013, the Institute for Science and International Security gives a mid-range estimate of 12 to 27 "nuclear weapon equivalents", including plutonium and uranium stockpiles. By 2016, North Korea is projected to have 14 to 48 nuclear weapon equivalents. (For uranium weapons, each weapon is assumed to contain 20 kilograms of weapons-grade uranium.)[5]


As of 2012, the Federation of American Scientists estimates North Korea has fewer than 10 plutonium warheads.[93]


As of January 2013, the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute estimates North Korea has 6 to 8 warheads.[94]

Biological and chemical weapons

North Korea acceded to the Biological Weapons Convention in 1987, and the Geneva Protocol on January 4, 1989, but has not signed the Chemical Weapons Convention.

The U.S. Department of Defense believes North Korea probably has a chemical weapons program and is likely to possess a stockpile of weapons.[6] The United States believes that North Korea maintains a biological weapons capability and infrastructure, and has the munitions production capacity to deploy biological agents if it chose to do so.[95]

North Korea reportedly acquired the technology necessary to produce tabun and mustard gas as early as the 1950s.[96] The United States estimates North Korea's likely stockpile of chemical weaponry from at least a few hundred tons, to at most a few thousand tons.[97]

In 2009 the International Crisis Group reported that the consensus expert view was that North Korea had a stockpile of about 2,500 to 5,000 tonnes of chemical weapons, including mustard gas, sarin (GB) and other nerve agents.[98] The South Korean government also estimated the stockpile as about 2,500 to 5,000 tonnes in 2010.[95]

North Korea may have also begun the production of binary agents. Binary agents are toxic only when the two chemicals (normally physically separated) are combined. By creating binary agents, North Korea can increase their safety when handling hazardous material.[97] North Korean military units conduct regular nuclear, biological, and chemical (NBC) training exercises in a chemical environment. North Korean chemical and biological warfare units are equipped with decontamination and detection equipment.[97] In 2010, the Omaha World-Herald reported that North Korea has chemical weapons which could cause millions of casualties in South Korea, where gas masks are only provided to the military and top government officials.[99]

On June 6, 2015, a North Korean defector to Finland who is working in China claims to have 15 gigabytes of electronic evidence that he claims documents how the country is testing chemical and biological agents on its own citizens.[100] The same day, photo releases of Kim Jong-un visiting the Pyongyang Bio-technical Institute were scrutinised by experts such as Melissa Hanham of the James Martin Center for Nonproliferation Studies, who claims that this factory is an anthrax-producing factory.[101] However, an official spokesperson for the National Defence Commission denied the allegations on the Korean Central News Agency, challenging the US Congress to inspect the Institute, saying: "Come here right now, with all the 535 members of the House of Representatives and the Senate as well as the imbecile secretaries and deputy secretaries of the government who have made their voices hoarse screaming for new sanctions. Then they can behold the awe-inspiring sight of the Pyongyang Bio-technical Institute."[102]

Delivery systems


In the 1960s, DPRK first received shipments of short-range ballistic missiles from its main ally, the Soviet Union. The first weapons of this kind to be delivered were the tactical FROG-series.[103] In the late 1970s or early 1980s, the DPRK received several longer range Scud-B missiles from Egypt (which in turn received those missiles from the USSR, Bulgaria and Poland). The USSR had refused to supply Scuds to North Korea.[103] A local production basis was established, and the first modified copy was named Hwasong-5. With time, more advanced types of missiles were developed. Eventually North Korea equipped itself with ballistic missiles, capable of reaching Japan. In the 1990s, North Korea sold medium-sized nuclear capable missiles to Pakistan in a deal facilitated by China.[104]


North Korea's ability to deliver weapons of mass destruction to a hypothetical target is somewhat limited by its missile technology. As of 2005, North Korea's total range with its Nodong missiles estimated as 900 km with a 1,000 kg payload,[103] enough to reach South Korea, and parts of Japan, Russia and China. The Hwasong-10 is a North Korean designed intermediate-range ballistic missile with range capabilities of up to 1,550 miles (2,490 km), and could carry a nuclear warhead.

In an online interview published in 2006, the Japanese Ministry of Defense's analyst Takesada argued that North Korea's desire of unification is similar to North Vietnam, and warned of the possibility of North Korea's compulsory merger with South Korea by threats of nuclear weapons, taking advantage of any possible decrease in the U.S. military presence in South Korea, after North Korea deploys several hundred mobile ICBMs aimed at the United States.[105]

Operational delivery systems

Estimated maximum range of some North Korean missiles [106]

There is evidence that North Korea has been able to miniaturize a nuclear warhead for use on a ballistic missile.[107][108] Re-entry technology to protect the warheads en route to their targets is lacking.[109] An April 2012 display of missiles purporting to be ICBMs were declared fakes by Western analysts, and indicated North Korea was a long way from having a credible ICBM.[110] Various North Korean rocket tests continued into the 2010s, for example in 2013, in 2014, and in 2016. North Korea performed no tests of medium-range missiles sufficiently powerful to reach Japan in 2015, but South Korea's Yonhap news agency believes that at least one missile fired during North Korea's March 2016 missile tests is likely a medium-range Rodong missile.[111] North Korea appeared to launch a missile test from a submarine on 23 April 2016; while the missile only traveled 30 km, one U.S. analyst noted that "North Korea's sub launch capability has gone from a joke to something very serious".[112] An August 2016 North Korean missile test of a Rodong missile that flew 1,000 kilometres (620 mi) landed about 250 kilometres (160 mi) west of Japan's Oga Peninsula, in international waters but inside Japan's exclusive economic zone, prompting Japan to condemn the "unforgivable act of violence toward Japan's security".[113][114]

As of 2016, North Korea is known to have approximately 300 Rodong missiles whose maximum range is 800 miles.[114]

Operational / successfully tested


Technology demonstrators

In April 2009, the United Nations named the Korea Mining and Development Trading Corporation (KOMID) as North Korea's primary arms dealer and main exporter of equipment related to ballistic missiles and conventional weapons. The UN lists KOMID as being based in the Central District, Pyongyang.[122] However, it also has offices in Beijing and sales offices worldwide which facilitate weapons sales and seek new customers for North Korean weapons.[123]

KOMID has sold missile technology to Iran[124] and has done deals for missile related technology with the Taiwanese.[125] KOMID representatives were also involved in a North Korean deal to mass-produce Kornet anti-tank guided missiles for Syria[126] and KOMID has also been responsible for the sale of equipment, including missile technologies, gunboats, and multiple rocket artilleries, worth a total of over $100 million, to Africa, South America, and the Middle East.[127]

North Korea's military has also used a company called Hap Heng to sell weapons overseas. Hap Heng was based in Macau in the 1990s to handle sales of weapons and missile and nuclear technology to nations such as Pakistan and Iran. Pakistan's medium-range ballistic missile, the Ghauri, is considered to be a copy of North Korea's Rodong 1. In 1999, intelligence sources claim that North Korea had sold missile components to Iran.[128] Listed directors of Hap Heng include Kim Song in and Ko Myong Hun.[129] Ko Myong Hun is now a listed diplomat in Beijing[130] and may be involved in the work of KOMID.[131]

A UN sanctions committee report stated that North Korea operates an international smuggling network for nuclear and ballistic missile technology, including to Myanmar (Burma), Syria, and Iran.[132]

Export partners

Many countries have bought North Korean ballistic missiles or have received assistance from North Korea to establish local missile production.

North Korean entities continued to provide assistance to Pakistan's ballistic missile program during the first half of 1999 in return for nuclear weapons technology.[133] Such assistance was critical to Islamabad's efforts to produce ballistic missiles. In April 1998, Pakistan flight-tested the Ghauri MRBM, which is based on North Korea's Nodong missile. Also in April 1998, the United States imposed sanctions against Pakistani and North Korean entities for their role in transferring Missile Technology Control Regime Category I ballistic missile-related technology.[134]
Egypt has received technologies and assistance for manufacture of both the Hwasong-5 and Hwasong-6, and may have provided guidance systems or information on longer-range missiles to North Korea from the Condor/Badr program.
Iran was one of the first countries to buy North Korean missiles. Iran has established local production for the Hwasong-5 (Shahab-1), Hwasong-6 (Shahab-2) and the Rodong-1 (Shahab-3). Iran also possesses some 19 land-based BM25 Musudan missiles, according to a leaked, classified U.S. State Department cable,[135] however Iran has never displayed these missiles causing some U.S. intelligence officials to doubt the missiles were transferred to Iran.[136]
Syria originally obtained the SCUD-B from North Korea. North Korea may have assisted Syria in development of the SCUD-C and/or the SCUD-D. As of 2013, Syria relies on foreign assistance from multiple countries, including North Korea, for advanced missile components and technologies.[137]
 United Arab Emirates
25 Hwasong-5s were purchased from North Korea in 1989. The Military of the United Arab Emirates were not satisfied with the quality of the missiles, and they were kept in storage.[138]
Acquired Hwasong-5/6 missiles in 1998.
Known to have bought Hwasong-5 missiles from the DPRK in the 1990s—a total of 15 missiles, 15 TELs with 15 HE warheads.

Former export partners

Libya during the reign of Muammar Gaddafi had been known to receive technological assistance, blueprints and missile parts from North Korea.[139]

Rejection by a potential export partner

In January 2004, the Nigerian government announced that North Korea had agreed to sell it missile technology, but a month later Nigeria rejected the agreement under U.S. pressure.[140]

See also


  1. "North Korea claims success in fifth nuclear test". BBC News. 9 September 2016. Retrieved 9 September 2016.
  2. 1 2 "North Korea conducts 'fifth and biggest nuclear test'". BBCNews. 9 September 2016.
  3. 1 2 North Korea conducts fifth and largest nuclear test – South Korea and Japan – Reuters, 9 September 2016 5:39am Britain Standard Time
  4. 1 2 "North Korean Plutonium and Weapon-Grade Uranium Inventories" (PDF)., ISIS, 2015
  5. 1 2 "North Korea's Estimated Stocks of Plutonium and Weapon-Grade Uranium" (PDF). August 16, 2012. Retrieved March 7, 2013.
  6. 1 2 Military and Security Developments Involving the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (PDF) (Report). U.S. Department of Defense. 2012. Retrieved 23 May 2013.
  7. "North Korea leaves nuclear pact". Jan 10, 2003.
  8. Burns, Robert; Gearan, Anne (October 13, 2006). "U.S.: Test Points to N. Korea Nuke Blast". The Washington Post.
  9. "North Korea Nuclear Test Confirmed by U.S. Intelligence Agency". Bloomberg. October 16, 2006. Retrieved October 16, 2006.
  10. 1 2 North Korea's first nuclear test Yield estimates section
  11. 1 2 "Usher in a great heyday of Songun Korea full of confidence in victory". The Pyongyang Times. January 6, 2007. p. 1.
  12. Richard Lloyd Parry (April 24, 2009). "North Korea is fully fledged nuclear power, experts agree". The Times (Tokyo). London. Retrieved December 1, 2010.
  13. 1 2 North Korea's Nuclear test Explosion, 2009. SIPRI
  14. "North Korea's new nuclear test raises universal condemnation". NPSGlobal Foundation. May 25, 2009. Retrieved December 1, 2010.
  15. 2013-02-12 02:57:51 (mb 5.1) NORTH KOREA 41.3 129.1 (4cc01) (Report). USGS. February 11, 2013. Retrieved February 12, 2013.
  16. "North Korea appears to conduct 3rd nuclear test, officials and experts say". CNN. February 12, 2013. Retrieved February 12, 2013.
  17. 1 2 Choi He-suk (February 14, 2013). "Estimates differ on size of N.K. blast". The Korea Herald. Retrieved February 17, 2013.
  18. "Nuke test air samples are a bust". 15 February 2013. Retrieved 16 February 2013.
  19. "How Powerful Was N.Korea's Nuke Test?". The Chosun Ilbo. February 14, 2013. Retrieved February 17, 2013.
  20. 1 2 Nordkorea: BGR registriert vermutlichen Kernwaffentest - BGR, 6 Jan 2016
  21. M5.1 - 21km ENE of Sungjibaegam, North Korea (Report). USGS. January 6, 2016. Retrieved January 6, 2016.
  22. "North Korea claims fully successful hydrogen bomb test". Russia Today. January 5, 2016. Retrieved January 5, 2016.
  23. "N Korean nuclear test condemned as intolerable provocation". Channel News Asia. Mediacorp. 6 January 2016. Retrieved 6 January 2016.
  24. Windrem, Robert. "North Korea Likely Lying About Hydrogen Bomb Test, Experts Say". NBC News. Retrieved 6 January 2016.
  25. 1 2 Nordkorea: BGR registriert vermutlichen Kernwaffentest – BGR (In German), 9 Sep 2016
  26. "North Korea fires long-range rocket despite warnings". BBC News. Retrieved 2016-02-08.
  27. "Chinese underground nuclear test North Korea reached an unprecedented precision measurement". 19 June 2013. Retrieved 14 July 2013.
  28. "Nuclear explosion in North Korea, February 12, 2013". NORSAR. 12 February 2013. Retrieved 13 February 2013.
  30. 1 2 John Pike. "Nuclear Weapons Program".
  31. Lee Jae-Bong (December 15, 2008 (Korean) February 17, 2009 (English)). "U.S. Deployment of Nuclear Weapons in 1950s South Korea & North Korea's Nuclear Development: Toward Denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula (English version)". The Asia-Pacific Journal. Retrieved April 4, 2012. Check date values in: |date= (help)
  32. James Clay Moltz and Alexandre Y. Mansourov (eds.): The North Korean Nuclear Program. Routledge, 2000. ISBN 0-415-92369-7
  33. "Research Reactor Details – IRT-DPRK". International Atomic Energy Agency. 30 July 1996. Retrieved 14 February 2007.
  35. 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 "Fact Sheet on DPRK Nuclear Safeguards".
  36. The U.S.-North Korean Agreed Framework at a Glance, Fact Sheet, Arms Control Association.
  37. , additional text.
  38. "Non-Proliferation Treaty". October 21, 1994. Retrieved March 1, 2012.
  39. , additional text.
  40. Washington Post, "North 'bribed its way to nuclear statehood'", Japan Times, July 8, 2011, p. 4.
  41. "North Korea Confirms It Has Nuclear Weapons". Fox News. 11 February 2005. Retrieved 8 March 2013.
  42. Traynor, Ian; Watts, Jonathan; Borger, Julian (20 September 2005). "North Korea vows to abandon nuclear weapons project". The Guardian. London. Retrieved 8 March 2013.
  43. N. Korea Plans to Shut Down Nuke Facility. Newsmax. March 17, 2007.
  44. "UN confirms N Korea nuclear halt". BBC News. July 16, 2007. Retrieved July 16, 2007.
  45. 1 2 Steven Lee Myers; Choe Sang-Hun (February 29, 2012). "North Korea Agrees to Curb Nuclear Work; U.S. Offers Aid". The New York Times. Retrieved February 29, 2012.
  46. "DPRK Foreign Ministry Spokesman on Result of DPRK-U.S. Talks". Korean Central News Agency. February 29, 2012. Retrieved March 3, 2012.
  47. "U.S.-DPRK Bilateral Discussions". U.S. Department of State. February 29, 2012. Retrieved March 3, 2012.
  48. "US stops food aid to North Korea after missile launch". Reuters. April 13, 2012.
  49. "To React to Nuclear Weapons in Kind Is DPRK's Mode of Counteraction: Rodong Sinmun". Korean Central News Agency. 11 January 2016. Retrieved 11 January 2016.
  50. Flower of Reunification (DPRK film [unknown publisher]; official English translation), c. 1989 (Part 3/7)
  52. "Archived copy" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on January 2, 2014. Retrieved 2013-08-31.
  53. 1 2 3 "North Korea's nuclear tests". BBC News.
  54. Glenn Kessler, Far-Reaching U.S. Plan Impaired N. Korea Deal: Demands Began to Undo Nuclear Accord, The Washington Post, p. A20, September 26, 2008.
  55. Demetri Sevastopulo (October 10, 2008). "Bush removes North Korea from terror list". Financial Times. Retrieved October 10, 2008.
  56. "N. Korea Says It Has Restarted Nuclear Facilities list". Fox News. Associated Press. April 25, 2009. Retrieved April 25, 2009.
  57. Russia Today (April 26, 2009). "North Korea: return of the nukes". RT. Retrieved May 22, 2009.
  58. "N. Korea Says It Conducted 2nd Nuclear Test". Fox News. Associated Press. May 25, 2009. Retrieved May 25, 2009.
  59. "朝鲜(疑爆)Ms4.9地震" (in Chinese). Archived from the original on August 9, 2014.
  60. "Press Release: On the CTBTO's detection in North Korea". CTBTO. Retrieved 12 February 2013.
  61. <no by-line.--> (February 12, 2013). "North Korea confirms 'successful' nuclear test". The Telegraph. London, England. Retrieved January 6, 2016.
  62. "How Powerful Was N.Korea's Nuke Test?". The Chosun Ilbo. 14 February 2013. Retrieved 17 February 2013.
  63. "North Korea has a hydrogen bomb, says Kim Jong-un". The Guardian. Reuters. 10 December 2015. Retrieved 6 January 2016.
  64. Sang-hun, Choe (10 December 2015). "Kim Jong-Un's Claim of North Korea Hydrogen Bomb Draws Skepticism". The New York Times. Retrieved 6 January 2016.
  65. "News from The Associated Press".
  66. Siobhan Fenton (January 6, 2016). "North Korea hydrogen bomb test: Experts cast doubt on country's claims". The Independent.
  67. "News from The Associated Press".
  68. no by-line.--> (6 January 2016). "North Korea nuclear H-bomb claims met by scepticism". BBC News Asia. BBC. Retrieved 6 January 2016.
  71. no by-line.-->. "N Korean nuclear test condemned as intolerable provocation". Channel News Asia. Mediacorp. Retrieved 6 January 2016.
  72. "North Korea's Hydrogen Bomb Claim Strains Ties With China". The New York Times. January 7, 2016.
  73. [Seoul says North Korea conducted 5th nuclear test "Seoul says North Korea conducted 5th nuclear test"] Check |url= value (help). Fox News. 9 September 2016. Retrieved 9 September 2016.
  74. 1 2 "North Korea nuclear test: Japan confirms huge quake caused by explosion". The Guardian. 9 September 2016.
  75. Joo, Seung-Hoo (2000). Gorbachev's Foreign Policy Toward the Korean Peninsula, 1985–1991: Power and Reform. E. Mellen Press. p. 205. ISBN 978-0-7734-7817-6.
  76. Albright, David; Berkhout, Frans; Walker, William (1997). Plutonium and Highly Enriched Uranium, 1996: World Inventories, Capabilities, and Policies. Stockholm International Peace Research Institute. p. 303. ISBN 978-0-19-828009-5.
  77. The North Korean Plutonium Stock, February 2007, by David Albright and Paul Brannan, Institute for Science and International Security (ISIS), February 20, 2007.
  78. Albright, David; Brannan, Paul (June 26, 2006)
  79. "Weapons of Mass Destruction". Retrieved November 6, 2012.
  80. "International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA).". International Atomic Energy Agency. Retrieved November 5, 2012.
  81. Busch, Nathan E. (2004). No End in Sight: The Continuing Menace of Nuclear Proliferation. University Press of Kentucky. p. 251. ISBN 978-0-8131-2323-3.
  82. Siegfried S. Hecker (12 May 2009). "The risks of North Korea's nuclear restart". Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists. Retrieved 5 November 2009.
  83. "FSI - CISAC - North Korea's Choice: Bombs Over Electricity".
  84. "Defiant NKorea resumes nuclear program". Brisbane Times. 25 April 2014. Retrieved 16 October 2014.
  85. Bodansky, Yossef; Forrest, Vaughn S. (August 11, 1994). Pyongyang and the US nuclear gambit. Congressional Documents.
  86. 북한내 핵실험 가능 추정지역 최소 8곳 [Minimum of eight nuclear test in North Korea can be estimated]. BreakNews (in Korean). October 6, 2006. Retrieved November 1, 2009.
  87. Nuclear Weapons Program – North Korea History section paragraph 1. Federation of American Scientists. Accessed 5 April 2013.
  88. "Khan 'gave N Korea centrifuges'". BBC News. August 24, 2005. Retrieved March 1, 2012.
  89. "ABC News: ABC Exclusive: Pakistani Bomb Scientist Breaks Silence". ABC News. ABC News (USA). May 30, 2008. Retrieved March 1, 2012.
  90. "N Korea 'admits nuclear programme". BBC News. October 17, 2002. Retrieved October 5, 2006.
  91. Sanger, David E.; Broad, William J. (March 1, 2007). "U.S. Had Doubts on North Korean Uranium Drive". The New York Times. Retrieved March 1, 2007.
  92. Kessler, Glenn (March 1, 2007). "New Doubts on Nuclear Efforts by North Korea". The Washington Post. Retrieved March 1, 2007.
  93. "Nuclear weapons: Who has what?". CNN. Retrieved April 16, 2013.
  94. Daily chart: Mutually assured ambiguity. The Economist (2013-06-03). Retrieved on 2013-07-12.
  95. 1 2 "Arms Control and Proliferation Profile: North Korea". Arms Control Association. April 2013. Retrieved 9 August 2013.
  96. "North Korean Military Capabilities". Archived from the original on September 11, 2006. Retrieved October 5, 2006.
  97. 1 2 3 "DPRK – Chemical Weapons Program". GlobalSecurity. 2003. Retrieved 9 August 2013.
  98. Jon Herskovitz (18 June 2009). "North Korea chemical weapons threaten region: report". Reuters. Retrieved 9 August 2013.
  99. N. Korea threat beyond neighbor, Omaha World-Herald, 28 November 2010
  100. Ryall, Julian (4 July 2015). "Defector says North Korea tests germ warfare on disabled". The Age. Retrieved 11 January 2016.
  101. Asher-Schaprio, Avi (9 July 2015). "Did North Korea Really Publish Pictures of a Biological Weapons Facility?". VICE News. Retrieved 11 January 2016.
  102. "Kim Jong-un invites entire US government to visit pesticide plant". The Daily Telegraph. 15 July 2015. Retrieved 11 January 2016.
  103. 1 2 3 4 Markus Schiller (2012). Characterizing the North Korean Nuclear Missile Threat (Report). RAND Corporation. ISBN 978-0-8330-7621-2. TR-1268-TSF. Retrieved January 19, 2013.
  104. Ravi Shekhar Narain Singh (2005). Asian Strategic And Military Perspective. Lancer Publishers. ISBN 817062245X.
  105. "Nikkei Interview Article Computer Translation". Retrieved March 1, 2012.
  106. BBC News - How potent are North Korea's threats?
  107. SHANKER, THOM (April 11, 2013). "Pentagon Says Nuclear Missile Is in Grasp for North Korea". The New York Times. Retrieved 11 April 2013.
  109. "Could North Korean Missiles Hit the U.S.?". Retrieved 25 March 2013.
  110. Eric Talmadge (April 26, 2012). "Analysts say North Korea's new missiles are fakes". The Independent. London. Retrieved April 29, 2012.
  111. JACK KIM; JU-MIN PARK (17 March 2016). "Defiant North Korea fires ballistic missile into sea, Japan protests". Reuters. Retrieved 18 March 2016.
  112. Don Melvin; Jim Sciutto (23 April 2016). "North Korea launches missile from submarine". CNN. Retrieved 23 April 2016.
  113. Choe Sang-Hun (2 August 2016). "North Korea Fires Ballistic Missile Into Waters Off Japan". New York Times. Retrieved 4 August 2016.
  114. 1 2 "Japan: North Korea missile launch an "unforgivable act of violence"". 27 July 2016. Retrieved 4 August 2016.
  115. John Pike. "Rodong-1". Retrieved March 1, 2012.
  116. "Facts about North Korea's Musudan missile". AFP. GlobalPost. 8 April 2013. Retrieved 10 April 2013. IHS Jane's puts the estimated range at anywhere between 2,500 and 4,000 kilometres … potential payload size has been put at 1.0-1.25 tonnes.
  117. 1 2
  119. E:\PICKUP\89797A
  120. Ballistic and Cruise Missile Threat (PDF). National Air and Space Intelligence Center (Report). Air Force Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance Agency. April 2009. NASIC-1031-0985-09. Retrieved 20 February 2013.
  122. "komid-un". CNN. April 25, 2009. Retrieved March 1, 2012.
  123. "KOMID Overseas". Archived from the original on August 29, 2010. Retrieved 2010-08-29.
  124. "KOMID and Iran". Archived from the original on October 11, 2010. Retrieved 2010-10-11.
  125. "KOMID and Taiwan". Archived from the original on November 19, 2010. Retrieved 2010-11-19.
  126. "KOMID and Syria". Archived from the original on January 19, 2012. Retrieved March 1, 2012.
  127. KOMID's $100 million sales
  128. "Hap Heng in Macau". CNN. Retrieved March 1, 2012.
  129. 印務局 Internet Team. "Ko Myong Hun and Kim Song In". Retrieved March 1, 2012.
  130. "国家简介-国际-朝鲜民主主义人民共和国大使馆". People's Daily. Retrieved March 1, 2012.
  131. "Ko and Komid". China Daily. Retrieved March 1, 2012.
  132. McElroy, Damien (November 12, 2010). "North Korea 'runs international nuclear smuggling network'". The Daily Telegraph. UK. Retrieved March 1, 2012.
  133. "South Asia - Powell says nuclear ring broken". BBC News.
  134. "Report to Congress, January – June 1999. Unclassified Report to Congress on the Acquisition of Technology Relating to Weapons of Mass Destruction and Advanced Conventional Munitions. Central Intelligence Agency". Retrieved March 1, 2012.
  135. William J. Broad; James Glanz; David E. Sanger (28 November 2010). "Iran Fortifies Its Arsenal With the Aid of North Korea". The New York Times. Archived from the original on November 29, 2010. Retrieved 28 November 2010.
  136. John Pomfret and Walter Pincus (December 1, 2010). "Experts question North Korea-Iran missile link from WikiLeaks document release". The Washington Post. Retrieved June 13, 2012.
  137. "Syria - Country Profiles - NTI". NTI: Nuclear Threat Initiative.
  138. Bermudez, Joseph S. (1999). "A History of Ballistic Missile Development in the DPRK: First Ballistic Missiles, 1979–1989". James Martin Center for Nonproliferation Studies. Retrieved February 14, 2008.
  139. "IISS report". Retrieved March 1, 2012.
  140. North Korea Missile Milestones – 1969–2005 Archived December 4, 2010, at the Wayback Machine.
This article is issued from Wikipedia - version of the 12/4/2016. The text is available under the Creative Commons Attribution/Share Alike but additional terms may apply for the media files.