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

  • Has former President Bill Clinton's successful mission to Pyongyang to win the release of two American journalists opened up a new chapter in U.S.-North Korea relations?  

    August 4, 2009 - By Paul Carroll
  • A door could open to progress on issues including North Korea's nuclear program if both the U.S. and Pyongyang gain something from former President Clinton's surprise visit Tuesday, some longtime analysts of diplomacy with Pyongyang say.

    August 4, 2009 - By Sarah Brown
  • John Bolton told Jon Stewart he wanted America to be the only nation with nuclear weapons. Stewart is the comedian, but this policy is the joke.

    July 30, 2009 - By Joe Cirincione
  • North Korea's second nuclear test indicated the regime has improved its capacity to some extent since its 2006 attempt.

    July 29, 2009 - By Sarah Brown
  • Analysts say that a growing amount of circumstantial evidence suggests that the military government of Myanmar is laying the groundwork for a nuclear program.

    July 21, 2009 - By Sarah Brown
  • Cato Institute experts said that China must be encouraged to use its leverage in North Korea to contain Pyongyang's nuclear weapons program.  Ted Galen Carpenter called for a strategic shift by Wa

    July 20, 2009 - By Deborah Bain
  • The U.N. Security Council banned travel and froze assets of 10 North Korean individuals and businesses linked to the country's nuclear and ballistic missile programs, marking the first time the United Nations has directly penalized members of the nation's military and business elite.

    July 17, 2009 - By Sarah Brown
  • Writing in the Wall Street Journal  today, Peter Speigel says that "President Barack Obama has moved nuclear deterrence to the top of the national security agenda -- and in his dealings in the past month with Iran, North Korea and Russia, revealed the issue to be an organizing principle to his foreign policy."

    July 15, 2009 - By Deborah Bain
  • Joe Cirincione Discusses North Korea policy on "Think" with Krys Boyd. The program airs on KERA, an NPR station out of Ft. Worth Texas.

    Listen Below:

    July 6, 2009 - By Ploughshares Fund
  • With concerns rising about a possible North Korean long-range missile test, two independent scientists say the regime may be using an old Soviet ballistic missile to boost a rocket capable of reaching the West Coast of the United States. The design of a long-range missile tested last April "represents a very significant advance in rocket technology," said Ted Postol of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and David Wright of the Union of Concerned Scientists, both Ploughshares grantees, in a June 29 assessment published in the Bulletin of Atomic Scientists.

    July 3, 2009 - By Sarah Brown