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

  • Fear and Unknowing in the Indo-Pacific Region

    In this week’s episode of Press the Button, author, professor and expert David Kang discussed the widespread, bipartisan call in U.S. foreign policy and defense planning to move from the ‘war on terror,’ to increased confrontation—especially with China. The idea of a return to great-power...

    May 10, 2021 - By Will Lowry
  • Jessica Lee on Solving the North Korea Nuclear Crisis

    Jessica Lee is a Senior Research Fellow in the East Asia Program at the Quincy Institute for Responsible Statecraft, a Washington, DC think tank laying the foundation for a new US foreign policy centered on diplomatic engagement and military restraint. Previously, Jessica led the Council of...

    January 20, 2021 - By Ploughshares Fund
  • Expert: If You Want North Korea to Give Up Nuclear Weapons, Start by Ending the Korean War

    Korea expert and Women Cross DMZ founder Christine Ahn believes the United States needs to dramatically reshape its strategy on North Korea in order to rein in Pyongyang’s nuclear weapons program. For the last thirty years, Washington orthodoxy has held that the Kim regime must first...

    July 23, 2020 - By Ploughshares Fund
  • Tough Lessons: Advice for the Next President

    Arms control expert Jeffrey Lewis had a stark suggestion on how much money the next president should take out of the nuclear modernization budget, currently set at roughly $2 trillion over the next three decades. “Every little bit,” he said. “Zero it.” “And everyone says, ‘Oh my God, people will...

    December 2, 2019 - By Zack Brown
  • Grantee Spotlight: Women Cross DMZ

    I'm incredibly inspired by the increasing calls for peace around the world by lawmakers, activists, and everyday people whose lives have been impacted by this long, unresolved Korean War. In July, there was a historic vote in US Congress as part of the National Defense Authorization Act,...

    October 1, 2019 - By Ploughshares Fund
  • Zarif at the G7, US-North Korea negotiations, India and No First-Use and stopping hurricanes

    MICHELLE: Welcome back to another Early Warning. I'm Michelle Dover, Director of Programs here at Ploughshares Fund. Today I am joined by my colleagues, our resident Roger Hale fellow here at Ploughshares, Catherine Killough, and Research Associate at the Federation of American Scientists, Matt...

    August 26, 2019 - By Ploughshares Fund
  • Controversy at State Department, prospects for US-DPRK talks, and Iranian oil tanker

    JOE: Great, I want to start with you, Mary, right off on Iran because you've got a couple of stories to cover today and let me start with something that's not happening in the Middle East, but it's happening in Foggy...

    August 19, 2019 - By Ploughshares Fund
  • Emergency meeting in Vienna, North Korea’s recent missile launches

    Michelle: This weekend we saw an emergency meeting in Vienna with officials from Iran, Britain, France, Germany, Russia and China, basically everybody except the US who signed up to the deal. And the point of the meeting was to see whether there was a way to save the agreement in light of the...

    July 30, 2019 - By Ploughshares Fund
  • Women in the Room Where It Happens

    In one year, the world witnessed the prospect of a nuclear war on the Korean Peninsula turn into awe-inspiring peacemaking by Korean leaders. Now, a historic opportunity to end the seven-decade Korean War is within reach. The majority of South Koreans want a peace agreement to end the Korean War...

    April 3, 2019 - By Ploughshares Fund
  • Korea: Two Ambassadors, Two Perspectives

    Ploughshares Fund Executive Director and Chief Opearting Officer Philip Yun recently had a chance to moderate a discussion at the Commonwealth Club in San Francisco — a rare visit with the US and South Korean Ambassadors. The two ambassadors discussed the economic and political relationship...

    March 27, 2019 - By Ploughshares Fund