by Duyeon Kim [contact information]
Fact Sheet: North Korea's Nuclear and Ballistic Missile Programs
NUCLEAR WEAPONS CAPABILITIES
Claimed Objective: Deter a U.S. invasion and hostile policy against it, such as U.S. sanctions and joint military exercises with South Korea. Pyongyang believes the United States desires regime change.
Apparent Objective: Regime survival and recognition as a nuclear power. The regime believes that its nuclear and ballistic missile programs enhance its security and diplomatic position (1) domestically as a demonstration of strength against hostile Americans and (2) internationally as a bargaining chip and means to be treated as equal to nuclear weapons states. The regime has recently revised its constitution, which now refers to North Korea as a nuclear weapon state, a status that is only granted to the five states that possessed nuclear weapons at the time of the signature of the 1968 Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty: the United States, the Soviet Union (now Russia), China, France, and the United Kingdom. Pyongyang also appears to aim to miniaturize a nuclear warhead and mount it on a long-range ballistic missile.
Number of nuclear weapons: Unverified but total plutonium production suggests between four to eight nuclear weapons.
Nuclear Programs 
- Facility Yongbyon nuclear complex; North Hamgyong Province (Chungjinsi, Kiljugun, Pungyre); Chagangdo Province (Kanggyesi); North Pyongan Provice (Yongbyonsi, Kusungsi, Taechongun); South Pyongan Provice (Pyongsungsi)
- Stockpile: Believed to be around 30 kg. The Six Party Talks aimed at defusing the North’s nuclear programs broke down in December 2008 over ways to verify its stockpile.
Suspected – Pyongyang; Pakchon; Taechon; Chonmasan ; Hagap; Yongjori;
Confirmed – Yongbyon (pilot plant). In November 2010, Pyongyang unveiled a pilot uranium enrichment plant to American scientist Siegfried Hecker. It is widely believed to be a cover for its clandestine uranium enrichment programs, and unintended for peaceful nuclear energy generation. Other sites are believed to be hidden.
- Stockpile: Unknown. It is virtually impossible to verify enriched uranium stockpiles from a technical standpoint.
Apparent Objective: To miniaturize a nuclear warhead to mount on a long-range missile.
Nuclear tests: Two. A third test is expected though its timing is undetermined.
1. October 2006 – Claimed successful. Deemed unsuccessful.
On October 16, the U.S. Director of National Intelligence confirmed “North Korea conducted an underground nuclear explosion in the vicinity of P'unggye on October 9, 2006. The explosion yield was less than a kiloton,” and later said it was apparently more successful. One kiloton is far less than other nuclear states’ first tests of 10-20 kt. The international community has called the North’s test a failure.
2. May 25, 2009 – Claimed successful. Deemed unsuccessful.
On June 15, the U.S. Director of National Intelligence stated, “The U.S. Intelligence Community assesses that North Korea probably conducted an underground nuclear explosion in the vicinity of P’unggye on May 25, 2009. The explosion yield was approximately a few kilotons. Analysis of the event continues.” However, there is a lack of conclusive physical evidence in open sources that proves the test was a nuclear one.  Official and unofficial reports vary on estimated yield but it is generally regarded as higher than its 2006 test.
Test site: Pungyre (Northeast, 2006 & 2009 test site); Yongdoktong (Northwest; speculated)
Nuclear site: Kumchangri (underground site speculated to house a nuclear facility)
It is unclear how soon Pyongyang will be able to miniaturize a nuclear warhead to mount on a missile.
BALLISTIC MISSILE CAPABILITIES
Apparent Objective: Improve conventional war capabilities. Develop missiles capable of delivering nuclear warheads targeted at regional adversaries and the U.S. continent.
Ballistic Missile Facility: Musudan-ri; Yongjo-ri; Sangnam-ri; Tongchang-ri, Chiha-ri
Delivery Systems (Ballistic Missiles) 
- KN-01 – short-range anti-ship cruise missile. Range estimated at 160 km. Believed to be an improved version of the Soviet Termit missile (“Styx”).
- KN-02 – short-range, solid-fueled, highly accurate mobile missile. Modified copy of the Soviet OTR-21; unknown number in service; believed to have been deployed in the late 1990s or early 2000s.
- Hwasong-5 (Scud-B) – short-range, initial Scud modification. Road-mobile, liquid-fueled missile. Estimated range of 300 km (can reach throughout South Korea) and capable of delivering a 1,000 kg payload. Tested successfully. 150-200 believed to have been deployed on mobile launchers. Delivered to Iran for Iraq-Iran war.
- Hwasong-6 (Scud-C) - later Scud modification. Increased range of 500 km and smaller payload of 700-800 kg. Said to be the most widely deployed missile with at least 400 in service.
- Rodong-1/-2 – medium-range missile with an estimated range of 1,000-3,000 km; capable of reaching across Japan; presumed capable of carrying a nuclear warhead.
- Taepodong-1 (Paektusan-1) – three-stage space launch vehicle; incapable of delivering nuclear payload to intercontinental ranges due to poor technical accuracy; estimated range of 2,000-2,500 km; liquid fuel; theoretically capable of delivering small 100-200 kg payloads.
- Taepodong-2 – larger, more capable multi-stage missile; possible strategic capability against continental U.S.; believed to be a potential intercontinental ballistic missile; exact range unknown, various government estimates range from 4,000-15,000 km.
- Taepodong-X – solid fuel under development; estimated range 2,500-4,000 km.
- Musudan-1 – intermediate range ballistic missile (IRBM); range 2,500-4,00 km  capable of direct strikes on South Korea, Japan, and Guam putting U.S. military bases at risk; variant of Nodong; surface-to-air missile (SAM) system; most advanced missile delivery system; acquired in 2007.
Intercontinental Ballistic Missiles (ICBM)
- A grave concern remains to be the possible development of an inter-continental ballistic missile capable of delivering a chemical, biological, or nuclear warhead that can reach the U.S. continent. Given repeated test failures, most missile experts believe Pyongyang is far from achieving this goal.
- In November 2011, five Republican Congressional members raised concerns about the North’s development of a road-mobile ICBM. In April 2012 Pyongyang showcased a missile that initially appeared to be an ICBM during a military parade commemorating the 100th birthday of the regime’s founder Kim Il-sung. Weapons experts, however, claim the missiles are fake.
Long-Range Rockets (Space Launch Vehicles)
- Unha rocket-KwangMyongSong satellite combo
The North claims its long-range rockets are designed for peaceful scientific purposes to launch a satellite into orbit. However, the UN Security Council and international community view long-range rockets as synonymous with long-range missiles – the technology used in space launchers is essentially the same as ballistic missile technology. Global diplomats and scientists view Pyongyang’s claimed objective as veiled practice rounds to eventually launch a missile tipped with a nuclear warhead.
Missile Testing (Launch Site) 
- April 1984 – Hwasong-5 Scud-B type
- May 1986 – Scud-C
- 1993 – Rodong
- August 31, 1998 – Taepodong-1 missile (Musudan-ri); successful, fired over Japan
- May 1990 – Rodong-1
- June 1990 – Hwasong-6
- June 1991 – Scud-C
- May 1993 – Rodong
- August 1998 – Taepodong-1 (Musudan-ri); third-stage failed; claimed Kwangmyongsong-1 satellite launch
- March 2003 – Likely KN-01 (Singsang-ri); deemed failure exploding in mid-air.
- March 2003 – Likely KN-01 (Singsang-ri); flew for 110 km before falling into East Sea (Sea of Japan).
- May 2005 – KN-02 launch (East Sea)
- July 2006 – Taepodong-2 missile and Rodong-Scud (Musudan-ri); failed
- April 2009 – Taepodong-2 (Musudan-ri); claimed Kwangmyongsong-2 Rocket and Unha-2 satellite; failed
- July 2009 – Rodong-Scud missile
- April 2012 – Kwangmyongsong-3 Rocket and Unha-3 satellite (Tongchang-ri); failed
North Korea has typically tested long-range missiles/rocket before a nuclear test. Over the past two decades, Pyongyang as sold at least a few hundred Hwasong-5/-6 or Rodong missiles, materials, equipment, production technology, and parts to Middle Eastern countries including Egypt, Iran, Libya, Pakistan, Syria, the United Arab Emirates, and Yemen. 
North Korea’s Missiles
TIMELINE OF KEY EVENTS
April 1984 – Scud-B missile test
May 1986 – Scud-C missile test
May 1990 - Rodong missile test
June 1991 – Scud-C missile launch
May 1993 - Rodong-1 missile test
October 1994 – Agreed Framework
August 1998 – Taepodong-1 missile (N. Korea’s claimed Kwangmyongsong-1 satellite launch)
October 1998 – Gwangmyongsong-1 satellite launch
September 1999 – North Korea agrees to long-range missile moratorium in exchange for the lifting of U.S. economic sanctions
2002 – Admits to a clandestine uranium enrichment program
January 2003 – Withdraws from NPT
March 2003 – Likely 2 KN-01 launches
September 2005 – Six Party Joint Statement
July 2006 – Taepodong-2 missile test; Rodong-Scud missile launch
October 2006 – First nuclear test
October 2006 – UN Security Council Resolution 1718 (sanctions)
February 2007 – Six Party agreement on Initial Actions to implement September 2005 agreement
October 2007 – Six Party agreement on second-phase actions to implement September 2005 agreement; Disablement of 11 key plutonium producing facilities begin
June 2008 – Destroys cooling tower at Yongbyon. Dropped from Washington’s State Sponsor of Terrorism (SST) Trading with the Enemy Act (TWEA)
December 2008 – Six Party Talks break down
April 2009 – Taepodong-2 missile launch (N. Korea’s claimed Unha-2 rocket and Kwangmyongsong-2 satellite launch)
May 2009 – Second nuclear test
June 2009 – UN Security Council Resolution 1874 (sanctions)
July 2009 – Rodong-Scud missile launch
April 2012 – Unha-3 rocket Kwangmyongsong-3 satellite
April 2012 – UN Security Council Chairman’s Statement
See Center Analysis
 Diplomatic sources.
 Various open and diplomatic sources.
 “North Korea’s Nuclear Material Production Site is Chunmasan Basement: A Former North Korean People’s Liberation Army Defector’s Testimony,” Shin Donga, 1 Aug 2001 (Korean language).
 “North Korea’s 2009 Nuclear Test: Containment, Monitoring, Implications,” Congressional Research Service , 24 November 2010.
 Various open sources: South Korean Defense Ministry, International Institute for Strategic Studies, Center for Non-Proliferation Studies, International Crisis Group
 South Korea’s 2010 Defense White Paper: “In 2007, it [North Korea] began to develop new intermediate range ballistic missiles (IRBMs) called the Musudan with a range that extended beyond 3,000 km and which were capable of direct strikes on neighboring countries, including the ROK, Japan and Guam.”
 Various open sources: South Korean Defense Ministry, International Institute for Strategic Studies, Center for Non-Proliferation Studies, GlobalSecurity.org
 North Korea’s Ballistic Missile Programme, International Institute for Strategic Studies, http://www.iiss.org/publications/strategic-dossiers/north-korean-dossier/north-koreas-weapons-programmes-a-net-asses/north-koreas-ballistic-missile-programme/
Duyeon Kim is the Deputy Director of Nuclear Non-Proliferation at the Center for Arms Control and Non-Proliferation where her policy work focuses on North Korea, nuclear non-proliferation, nuclear security and nuclear terrorism prevention. Kim has published in major publications including the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists and World Politics Review. Prior to joining the Center, Kim was a career Diplomatic and Security Journalist in Seoul.