North Korea, led by the young and unpredictable Kim Jong Un, has a small but dangerous stockpile of an estimated 30 nuclear weapons and a growing arsenal of ballistic missiles.
Despite extreme international pressure and sanctions, North Korea has defiantly pursued a nuclear weapons program for decades in a self-described attempt to protect the regime from the security threats posed by adversarial countries. In 2003, North Korea withdrew from the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty and then tested its first nuclear weapon on October 9, 2006. It continues to build its stockpile of nuclear weapons, test short- and medium-range ballistic missiles, and produce fissile material. North Korea has not conducted a nuclear or long-range missile test since 2017.
After a period of heightened tensions between North Korea and United States, President Trump pursued unorthodox diplomatic overtures with North Korea, culminating in bilateral summits in Singapore and Hanoi in 2018 and 2019. However, these summits appeared to focus on pageantry more than substance, and relations again took a turn for the worse as no concrete progress came out of the summits.
Ignoring this problem won’t make it go away. In fact, it will make the situation worse. Working alongside allies, the United States must return to the negotiating table quickly and pursue a pragmatic, step-by-step diplomatic process that all parties can agree on to eventually reach denuclearization and establish peace on the Korean peninsula.
Recent Analysis on North Korea
- Would A Nuclear Weapon Make South Korea Safer? December 4, 2023
- Fact Sheet: North Korea Missile Test Activity November 14, 2023
- How Open-Source Intelligence Can Unlock Nuclear Secrets September 27, 2023
- 전문가들 “김정은 방러, 전방위 군사 협력 현실화…중국 셈법 복잡” September 12, 2023
- North Korea’s Kim Jong Un to meet with Vladimir Putin as Russia seeks closer military ties, more support for Ukraine war September 5, 2023
- Fact Sheet: The American-South Korean Security Alliance May 3, 2023
- Why Managing the Nuclear Threat in Northeast Asia Matters December 8, 2022
- After record year of arms tests, what’s in North Korea’s arsenal? November 9, 2022
- Fact Sheet: Nuclear Testing 101 October 18, 2022
- Codified Nuclear Escalation September 15, 2022