North Korea and weapons of mass destruction

North Korea and weapons of mass destruction

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North Korea
North Korea
The Democratic People’s Republic of Korea , , is a country in East Asia, occupying the northern half of the Korean Peninsula. Its capital and largest city is Pyongyang. The Korean Demilitarized Zone serves as the buffer zone between North Korea and South Korea...

(officially the Democratic People's Republic of Korea or DPRK) has declared that it has nuclear weapon
Nuclear weapon
A nuclear weapon is an explosive device that derives its destructive force from nuclear reactions, either fission or a combination of fission and fusion. Both reactions release vast quantities of energy from relatively small amounts of matter. The first fission bomb test released the same amount...

s and is believed by many to have nuclear weapons. The CIA
Central Intelligence Agency
The Central Intelligence Agency is a civilian intelligence agency of the United States government. It is an executive agency and reports directly to the Director of National Intelligence, responsible for providing national security intelligence assessment to senior United States policymakers...

 assesses that North Korea also has a substantial arsenal of chemical weapons. North Korea was a party to the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty
Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty
The Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons, commonly known as the Non-Proliferation Treaty or NPT, is a landmark international treaty whose objective is to prevent the spread of nuclear weapons and weapons technology, to promote cooperation in the peaceful uses of nuclear energy and to...

 but withdrew in 2003, citing the failure of the United States to fulfill its end of the Agreed Framework, a 1994 agreement between the states to limit North Korea's nuclear ambitions, begin normalization of relations, and help North Korea supply some energy needs through nuclear reactors.

On October 9, 2006, the North Korean government issued an announcement that it had successfully conducted a nuclear test
2006 North Korean nuclear test
The 2006 North Korean nuclear test was the detonation of a nuclear device conducted on October 9, 2006 by North Korea.North Korea announced its intention to conduct a test on October 3, six days prior, and in doing so became the first nation to give warning of its first nuclear test...

 for the first time. Both the United States Geological Survey
United States Geological Survey
The United States Geological Survey is a scientific agency of the United States government. The scientists of the USGS study the landscape of the United States, its natural resources, and the natural hazards that threaten it. The organization has four major science disciplines, concerning biology,...

 and Japanese seismological authorities detected an earthquake with a preliminary estimated magnitude of 4.3 in North Korea, corroborating some aspects of the North Korean claims.

In April 2009, reports surfaced that North Korea has become a "fully fledged nuclear power", an opinion shared by IAEA
International Atomic Energy Agency
The International Atomic Energy Agency is an international organization that seeks to promote the peaceful use of nuclear energy, and to inhibit its use for any military purpose, including nuclear weapons. The IAEA was established as an autonomous organization on 29 July 1957...

 Director General Mohamed ElBaradei. On May 25, 2009, North Korea conducted another nuclear test
2009 North Korean nuclear test
The 2009 North Korean nuclear test was the underground detonation of a nuclear device conducted on 25 May 2009 by North Korea. This was its second nuclear test, the first test having taken place in October 2006. Following the nuclear test, Pyongyang also conducted several missile tests.The test was...

, which is believed to have been the cause of a magnitude 4.7 seismic event. Although there is no official information about the test's location, it is believed that it happened in the north-eastern region near Kilju, the site of North Korea's first nuclear test.

Background


Korea has been a divided country since 1945, when it was liberated from the defeated Japan after World War II. The Korean War
Korean War
The Korean War was a conventional war between South Korea, supported by the United Nations, and North Korea, supported by the People's Republic of China , with military material aid from the Soviet Union...

 was fought from June 25, 1950, until an Armistice Agreement was signed on July 27, 1953. As part of the Armistice, both sides, including U.S. forces, conduct military patrols within the Korean Demilitarized Zone
Korean Demilitarized Zone
The Korean Demilitarized Zone is a strip of land running across the Korean Peninsula that serves as a buffer zone between North and South Korea. The DMZ cuts the Korean Peninsula roughly in half, crossing the 38th parallel on an angle, with the west end of the DMZ lying south of the parallel and...

 (DMZ).

Tensions between North and South have run high on numerous occasions since 1953. The deployment of the U.S. Army's
United States Army
The United States Army is the main branch of the United States Armed Forces responsible for land-based military operations. It is the largest and oldest established branch of the U.S. military, and is one of seven U.S. uniformed services...

 Second Infantry Division on the Korean peninsula and the American military presence at the DMZ are publicly regarded by North Korea as an occupying
Military occupation
Military occupation occurs when the control and authority over a territory passes to a hostile army. The territory then becomes occupied territory.-Military occupation and the laws of war:...

 army. In several areas, North Korean and American/South Korean forces operate in extreme proximity to the border, adding to tension. This tension has led to numerous clashes, including the Axe Murder Incident
Axe Murder Incident
The axe murder incident was the killing of two United States Army officers by North Korean soldiers on August 18, 1976, in the Joint Security Area located in the Korean Demilitarized Zone which forms the de facto border between North and South Korea...

 of 1976.

According to newly declassified documents from the archives of former communist allies of North Korea, Pyongyang
Pyongyang
Pyongyang is the capital of the Democratic People's Republic of Korea, commonly known as North Korea, and the largest city in the country. Pyongyang is located on the Taedong River and, according to preliminary results from the 2008 population census, has a population of 3,255,388. The city was...

 first began to pursue nuclear technology as early as 1956. In the early 1960s security concerns in the region and an apparent Soviet dismissal of these concerns hastened the DPRK's efforts to acquire the technology to produce nuclear weapons. In the wake of the student-led April 19 movement in 1960 that overthrew the South Korean president Rhee Syngman
Syngman Rhee
Syngman Rhee or Yi Seungman was the first president of South Korea. His presidency, from August 1948 to April 1960, remains controversial, affected by Cold War tensions on the Korean peninsula and elsewhere. Rhee was regarded as an anti-Communist and a strongman, and he led South Korea through the...

 and the May 16, 1961, military coup d'état that brought General Park Chung-hee
Park Chung-hee
Park Chung-hee was a Republic of Korea Army general and the leader of South Korea from 1961 to 1979. He seized power in a military coup and ruled until his assassination in 1979. He has been credited with the industrialization of the Republic of Korea through export-led growth...

 to power in the south, North Korea sought a mutual defense treaty with the Soviet Union and China.

Soviet leaders reportedly did not even consider such a pact necessary, despite the military posture of the anti-communist Park regime, as long as the Soviets improved relations with the United States.

Perhaps the two most important factors in North Korea's attempts to obtain nuclear weapons and become militarily self-reliant were the Cuban Missile Crisis
Cuban Missile Crisis
The Cuban Missile Crisis was a confrontation among the Soviet Union, Cuba and the United States in October 1962, during the Cold War...

 of October 1962 and the prospect of a US–Japan–ROK alliance following the 1965 establishment of diplomatic relations between the ROK and Japan. Kim Il-sung
Kim Il-sung
Kim Il-sung was a Korean communist politician who led the Democratic People's Republic of Korea from its founding in 1948 until his death in 1994. He held the posts of Prime Minister from 1948 to 1972 and President from 1972 to his death...

 reportedly did not trust that the Soviets would live up to the conditions of the mutual defense pact and guarantee North Korea's security since they betrayed Castro
Fidel Castro
Fidel Alejandro Castro Ruz is a Cuban revolutionary and politician, having held the position of Prime Minister of Cuba from 1959 to 1976, and then President from 1976 to 2008. He also served as the First Secretary of the Communist Party of Cuba from the party's foundation in 1961 until 2011...

 by withdrawing nuclear missiles in an effort to improve relations with the United States. As a North Korean official explained to Soviet Premier Alexei Kosygin in 1965, "the Korean leaders were distrustful of the CPSU and the Soviet government, they could not count on that the Soviet government would keep the obligations related to the defense of Korea it assumed in the Treaty of Friendship, Cooperation and Mutual Assistance, Kim Il-sung said, and therefore they were compelled to keep an army of 700,000 and a police force of 200,000." In explaining the cause of such mistrust, the official claimed that "the Soviet Union had betrayed Cuba at the time of the Caribbean crisis." However, as recently declassified Russian, Hungarian, and East German materials confirm, no communist governments were willing to share the technology with the North Koreans, out of fear that they would share the technology with China.

With the collapse of the Soviet Union, North Korean leaders recognized the need for a new security relationship with a major power since Pyongyang could not afford to maintain its military posture. North Korean leaders therefore sought to forge a new relationship with the United States, the only power strong enough to step into the vacuum left by the collapse of the Soviet Union. From the early 1990s, throughout the first nuclear crisis, North Korea sought a non-aggression pact with the United States.

The U.S. rejected North Korean calls for bilateral talks concerning a non-aggression pact
Non-aggression pact
A non-aggression pact is an international treaty between two or more states/countries agreeing to avoid war or armed conflict between them and resolve their disputes through peaceful negotiations...

, and stated that only six-party talks
Six-party talks
The six-party talks aim to find a peaceful resolution to the security concerns as a result of the North Korean nuclear weapons program.There has been a series of meetings with six participating states:* The Democratic People's Republic of Korea ;...

 that also include the People's Republic of China, Russia, Japan, and South Korea are acceptable. The American stance was that North Korea had violated prior bilateral agreements, thus such forums lacked accountability. Conversely, North Korea refused to speak in the context of six-party talks, stating that it would only accept bilateral talks with the United States. This led to a diplomatic
Diplomacy
Diplomacy is the art and practice of conducting negotiations between representatives of groups or states...

 stalemate.

On October 9, 2006, the North Korean government issued an announcement that it had successfully conducted a nuclear test
2006 North Korean nuclear test
The 2006 North Korean nuclear test was the detonation of a nuclear device conducted on October 9, 2006 by North Korea.North Korea announced its intention to conduct a test on October 3, six days prior, and in doing so became the first nation to give warning of its first nuclear test...

 for the first time. Both the United States Geological Survey
United States Geological Survey
The United States Geological Survey is a scientific agency of the United States government. The scientists of the USGS study the landscape of the United States, its natural resources, and the natural hazards that threaten it. The organization has four major science disciplines, concerning biology,...

 and Japanese seismological authorities detected an earthquake with a preliminary estimated magnitude of 4.3 in North Korea, corroborating some aspects of the North Korean claims.

On November 19, 2006, North Korea's Minju Joson newspaper accused South Korea of building up arms in order to attack the country, claiming that "the South Korean military is openly clamoring that the development and introduction of new weapons are to target the North." Pyongyang accused South Korea of conspiring with the United States to attack the isolated and impoverished state, an accusation made frequently by the North and routinely denied by the U.S. The United Nations Security Council
United Nations Security Council
The United Nations Security Council is one of the principal organs of the United Nations and is charged with the maintenance of international peace and security. Its powers, outlined in the United Nations Charter, include the establishment of peacekeeping operations, the establishment of...

 condemned the test in Resolution 1874
United Nations Security Council Resolution 1874
United Nations Security Council Resolution 1874 was adopted unanimously by the United Nations Security Council on 12 June 2009. The resolution, passed under Chapter VII, Article 41, of the UN Charter, imposes further economic and commercial sanctions on the Democratic People's Republic of Korea ...

.

On May 25, 2009, North Korea conducted a second test
2009 North Korean nuclear test
The 2009 North Korean nuclear test was the underground detonation of a nuclear device conducted on 25 May 2009 by North Korea. This was its second nuclear test, the first test having taken place in October 2006. Following the nuclear test, Pyongyang also conducted several missile tests.The test was...

 of a nuclear weapon at the same location as the original test (not confirmed). The test weapon was of the same magnitude as the atomic bombs dropped on Japan in the 2nd World War, (confirmed S. Korea and Russia). At the same time of the test N. Korea tested 2 short range missiles (reported a S. Korean News Network YTN – not officially confirmed).

In July 2011, Abdul Qadeer Khan, the key figure in Pakistan's nuclear weapons development, allegedly claimed that North Korea had gained access to Pakistan's nuclear technology in the late 1990s by paying bribes to Pakistan's senior military officials, a claim Pakistan's senior officials disputed. Khan stated that he had personally helped transfer $3 million in gratuities to senior Pakistan's military officers, though he neither provided any proofs to his claims.

Plutonium




North Korea has had two operating reactors
Nuclear reactor
A nuclear reactor is a device to initiate and control a sustained nuclear chain reaction. Most commonly they are used for generating electricity and for the propulsion of ships. Usually heat from nuclear fission is passed to a working fluid , which runs through turbines that power either ship's...

, both located at the Yongbyon Nuclear Scientific Research Center
Yongbyon Nuclear Scientific Research Center
The Yongbyon Nuclear Scientific Research Center is North Korea's major nuclear facility, operating its first nuclear reactors. It is located in the county of Nyŏngbyŏn in North Pyongan province, about 90 km north of Pyongyang...

. The older reactor is a Russian supplied IRT-2000 research reactor completed in 1967. Uranium irradiated in this reactor was used in North Korea's first plutonium separation experiments in 1975. Nevertheless, the primary purpose of the reactor is not to produce plutonium and North Korea has had trouble acquiring enough fuel for constant operation. The U.S. Department of Energy estimated that this reactor could have been used to produce up to 1–2 kg of plutonium, though the Joint Atomic Energy Intelligence Committee said that the amount was no more than a few hundred grams.

North Korea's main reactor, where practically all of its plutonium has been produced, is a 5MWe
MWE
MWE may refer to:*Manufacturer's Weight Empty*McDermott Will & Emery*Midwest Express, an airline*Merowe Airport - IATA code*Multiword expressionMWe may refer to:*Megawatt electrical...

  gas-graphite moderated Magnox
Magnox
Magnox is a now obsolete type of nuclear power reactor which was designed and is still in use in the United Kingdom, and was exported to other countries, both as a power plant, and, when operated accordingly, as a producer of plutonium for nuclear weapons...

 type reactor. A full core consists of 8,000 fuel rods and can yield a maximum of 27–29 kg of plutonium if left in the reactor for optimal burnup. Often, North Korea has unloaded the reactor before reaching the maximum burnup level. There are three known cores which were unloaded in 1994 (under IAEA supervision in accordance with the Agreed Framework), 2005, and 2007. A secret core, Core 0, may have been unloaded between 1989 and 1990 and verification is needed to confirm North Korean claims that such an unloading or partial unloading did not take place. 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 takes place in campaigns. Reprocessing (also known as separation) is known to have taken place in 2003 for the first core and 2005 for the second core. The reprocessing of the third core was halted by the six party talks and resumption will be delayed due to the disablement efforts.

North Korea also had two additional graphite moderated reactors being built, but that have since become unsalvageable since maintenance of their construction sites was not allowed under the Agreed Framework. The first of these two partially constructed reactors was also in the Yongbyon Nuclear Scientific Research Center
Yongbyon Nuclear Scientific Research Center
The Yongbyon Nuclear Scientific Research Center is North Korea's major nuclear facility, operating its first nuclear reactors. It is located in the county of Nyŏngbyŏn in North Pyongan province, about 90 km north of Pyongyang...

. It was to be 50MWe
MWE
MWE may refer to:*Manufacturer's Weight Empty*McDermott Will & Emery*Midwest Express, an airline*Merowe Airport - IATA code*Multiword expressionMWe may refer to:*Megawatt electrical...

 and able to produce 60 kg of plutonium per year, enough for approximately 10 weapons. The second partially constructed reactor was in nearby Taechon. It was to be 200 MWe
MWE
MWE may refer to:*Manufacturer's Weight Empty*McDermott Will & Emery*Midwest Express, an airline*Merowe Airport - IATA code*Multiword expressionMWe may refer to:*Megawatt electrical...

 and able to produce roughly 220 kg of plutonium annually, enough for approximately 40 weapons.

On March 12, 1993, North Korea said that it planned to withdraw from the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty
Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty
The Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons, commonly known as the Non-Proliferation Treaty or NPT, is a landmark international treaty whose objective is to prevent the spread of nuclear weapons and weapons technology, to promote cooperation in the peaceful uses of nuclear energy and to...

 (NPT) and refused to allow 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. Faced with diplomatic pressure after UN Security Council Resolution 825
UN Security Council Resolution 825
United Nations Security Council Resolution 825, adopted on May 11, 1993, called upon the Democratic People's Republic of Korea to reconsider its decision to withdraw from the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty and allow weapons inspectors from the International Atomic Energy Agency into the...

 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
Agreed Framework between the United States of America and the Democratic People's Republic of Korea
The Agreed Framework between the United States of America and the Democratic People's Republic of Korea was signed on October 21, 1994 between North Korea and the United States...

 in which South Korea and the United States would provide North Korea with light water reactor
Light water reactor
The light water reactor is a type of thermal reactor that uses normal water as its coolant and neutron moderator. Thermal reactors are the most common type of nuclear reactor, and light water reactors are the most common type of thermal reactor...

s and fuel oil
Fuel oil
Fuel oil is a fraction obtained from petroleum distillation, either as a distillate or a residue. Broadly speaking, fuel oil is any liquid petroleum product that is burned in a furnace or boiler for the generation of heat or used in an engine for the generation of power, except oils having a flash...

 until those reactors could be completed. Because the light water reactors would require enriched uranium
Enriched uranium
Enriched uranium is a kind of uranium in which the percent composition of uranium-235 has been increased through the process of isotope separation. Natural uranium is 99.284% 238U isotope, with 235U only constituting about 0.711% of its weight...

 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, with bureaucratic red tape and political obstacles from the North Korea, the Korean Peninsula Energy Development Organization
Korean Peninsula Energy Development Organization
The Korean Peninsula Energy Development Organization is an organization founded on March 15, 1995 by the United States, South Korea, and Japan to implement the 1994 U.S.-North Korea Agreed Framework that froze North Korea's indigenous nuclear power plant development centered at the Yongbyon...

 (KEDO), established to advance the implementation of the Agreed Framework, had failed to build the promised light water reactors because the United States failed to uphold their end of the agreement by providing energy aid, and in late 2002, 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:

1. Hamgyong Bukdo (North Hamgyong) Province – 2 Sites:
  • Chungjinsi – Nuclear fuel storage site, military base & unidentified underground facility
  • Kiljugun – Extensive military buildup with motorized troop formations and construction of new advanced underground facility – Site of May 25, 2009 Nuclear Test.
  • Phunggyere – Site of October 9, 2006 Nuclear Test


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

3. Pyongan Bukdo (North Pyongan) Province – 4 Sites:
  • Yongbyonsi – 2 Sites – Location of Yongbyon Nuclear Research Center, and the facility's Experimental Test Explosion facility and two unidentified underground facilities. In addition, there is a gas-graphic reactor, HE test site, nuclear fuel fabrication site, nuclear waste storage site
  • Kusungsi – Between 1997 and September 2002, approximately 70 text explosions of North Korean munitions took place. Also, existence of underground facility
  • Taechongun – 200MWe Nuclear Energy Plant construction site. Location of unidentified underground facility and nuclear arms/energy related facilities known to exist


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

Enriched uranium and foreign assistance


With the abandonment of its plutonium program, U.S. officials claimed North Korea began an enriched uranium program. Prime minister
Prime Minister of Pakistan
The Prime Minister of Pakistan , is the Head of Government of Pakistan who is designated to exercise as the country's Chief Executive. By the Constitution of Pakistan, Pakistan has the parliamentary democratic system of government...

 Benazir Bhutto
Benazir Bhutto
Benazir Bhutto was a democratic socialist who served as the 11th Prime Minister of Pakistan in two non-consecutive terms from 1988 until 1990 and 1993 until 1996....

 of Pakistan, allegedly, through Pakistan's former top scientist, Dr. Abdul Qadeer Khan
Abdul Qadeer Khan
Abdul Qadeer Khan , also known in Pakistan as Mohsin-e-Pakistan , D.Eng, Sc.D, HI, NI , FPAS; more widely known as Dr. A. Q...

, supplied key data, stored in CDs
Compact Disc
The Compact Disc is an optical disc used to store digital data. It was originally developed to store and playback sound recordings exclusively, but later expanded to encompass data storage , write-once audio and data storage , rewritable media , Video Compact Discs , Super Video Compact Discs ,...

, on uranium enrichment and information to North Korea in exchange for missile technology around 1990-1996, according to U.S. intelligence
Intelligence (information gathering)
Intelligence assessment is the development of forecasts of behaviour or recommended courses of action to the leadership of an organization, based on a wide range of available information sources both overt and covert. Assessments are developed in response to requirements declared by the leadership...

 officials. President Pervez Musharraf and Prime minister
Prime Minister of Pakistan
The Prime Minister of Pakistan , is the Head of Government of Pakistan who is designated to exercise as the country's Chief Executive. By the Constitution of Pakistan, Pakistan has the parliamentary democratic system of government...

 Shaukat Aziz
Shaukat Aziz
Shaukat Aziz is a world acclaimed Pakistani economist who was the 15th Prime Minister of Pakistan from May 20, 2004 to 15 November 2007 in a joint military government led by General Pervez Musharraf. A Citibank executive, Aziz returned to Pakistan from the United States to be became Finance...

 acknowledged in 2005 that Khan had provided centrifuges
Zippe-type centrifuge
The Zippe-type centrifuge is a device designed to collect Uranium-235. It was developed in the Soviet Union by a team of 60 Austrian and German scientists captured after World War II, working in detention...

 and their designs to North Korea. On May 30, 2008, ABC News
ABC News
ABC News is the news gathering and broadcasting division of American broadcast television network ABC, a subsidiary of The Walt Disney Company...

 reported that Khan, who previously confessed to his involvement with Iran and North Korea, now denies involvement with the spread of nuclear arms to those countries. He claimed in an interview with ABC News that the Pakistan Government, under Shaukat Aziz, and President Pervez Musharraf forced him to be a "scapegoat" for the "national interest". He also denied ever traveling to Iran or Libya, and claimed that North Korea's nuclear program was well advanced before his visit.

This program was publicized in October 2002 when the United States asked North Korean officials about the program. 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, 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
International Atomic Energy Agency
The International Atomic Energy Agency is an international organization that seeks to promote the peaceful use of nuclear energy, and to inhibit its use for any military purpose, including nuclear weapons. The IAEA was established as an autonomous organization on 29 July 1957...

 and withdrew from the Non-Proliferation Treaty.

In 2007 reports emanating from Washington suggested that the 2002 CIA reports that North Korea was developing uranium enrichment technology had overstated or misread the intelligence. U.S. officials were no longer making this a major issue in the six-party talks
Six-party talks
The six-party talks aim to find a peaceful resolution to the security concerns as a result of the North Korean nuclear weapons program.There has been a series of meetings with six participating states:* The Democratic People's Republic of Korea ;...

.

WikiLeaks has dropped a bombshell cache of U.S. diplomatic cables, ripping the cloak off scores of secret deals, including clandestine North Korean support for Iran and the North Korea, now embroiled in a knife’s edge confrontation with South Korea and the United States, was able to smuggle 19 advanced, Russian-designed missiles, capable of delivering nuclear payloads, to Iran, according to a February 24, 2010 cable detailing a meeting between Russian officials and a State Department nonproliferation expert. The shipment of some R-27 components was widely known in intelligence circles, but the WikiLeaks disclosures represent the first confirmation that Iran now possesses complete missile systems.

North Korea – United States relations


Under the 1994 Agreed Framework, the U.S. government agreed to facilitate the supply of two light water reactors to North Korea. Such reactors are considered "more proliferation-resistant than North Korea's graphite-moderated reactors," but not "proliferation proof."

Even though U.S. President George W. Bush
George W. Bush
George Walker Bush is an American politician who served as the 43rd President of the United States, from 2001 to 2009. Before that, he was the 46th Governor of Texas, having served from 1995 to 2000....

 had named North Korea as part of an "Axis of Evil
Axis of evil
"Axis of evil" is a term initially used by the former United States President George W. Bush in his State of the Union Address on January 29, 2002 and often repeated throughout his presidency, describing governments that he accused of helping terrorism and seeking weapons of mass destruction...

" following the September 11, 2001 attacks
September 11, 2001 attacks
The September 11 attacks The September 11 attacks The September 11 attacks (also referred to as September 11, September 11th or 9/119/11 is pronounced "nine eleven". The slash is not part of the pronunciation...

, U.S. officials stated that the United States was not planning any immediate military action.

According to John Feffer, co-director of the Foreign Policy in Focus, in 2006
The primary problem is that the current U.S. administration fundamentally doesn’t want an agreement with North Korea. The Bush administration considers the 1994 Agreed Framework to have been a flawed agreement. It doesn’t want be saddled with a similar agreement, for if it did sign one, it would then be open to charges of "appeasing" Pyongyang. The Vice President has summed up the approach as: "We don’t negotiate with evil, we defeat evil."


American ire at North Korea was further inflamed by allegations of state-sponsored drug smuggling, money-laundering, and wide-scale counterfeiting.

Diplomatic efforts at resolving the North Korean situation are complicated by the different goals and interests of the nations of the region. While none of the parties desire a North Korea with nuclear weapons, Japan and South Korea are especially concerned about North Korean counter-strikes following possible military action against North Korea. The People's Republic of China and South Korea are also very worried about the economic and social consequences should this situation cause the North Korean government
Politics of North Korea
The politics of North Korea take place within a nominally democratic multi-party system within the framework of the official state philosophy, Juche, a concept created by the founder of the North Korean state, Kim Il-sung, and his son and successor as leader, Kim Jong-il. In practice, North Korea...

 to collapse.

Nuclear deterrence



Former South Korean Government sources , as well as some scholars and analysts, have argued that North Korea is using nuclear weapons primarily as a political tool to begin re-establishing normal relations with the U.S., Japan and South Korea, and to end the long-standing economic embargo against North Korea. They point out that the threat of nuclear weapons is the only thing that has brought the U.S., Japan and South Korea into serious negotiations. In a lecture in 1993, Bruce Cumings
Bruce Cumings
Bruce Cumings is the Gustavus F. and Ann M. Swift Distinguished Service Professor in History at the University of Chicago and the chairperson of the history department...

 asserted that based on information gathered by the CIA, the activity around the Yongbyon facility may have been done expressly to draw the attention of U.S. satellites. He also pointed out that the CIA had not claimed North Korea had nuclear weapons, but that they had enough material to create such weapons should they choose to do so. Others argue that North Korea is developing nuclear weapons for the same reason most other countries develop them—namely to give their nation a sense of power in the world, enabling them to further their goals without fear of reprisal.

Further to this argument is the observation that many parties have a vested interest in the claim that North Korea has nuclear weapons. For North Korea, it has been a bargaining tool for opening diplomatic discussions. The nuclear development programme can be manipulated in exchange for foreign aid. Nuclear posturing has also been seen as a threat that could force the re-unification of the Korean peninsula. The Grand National Party
Grand National Party
The Grand National Party is a conservative political party in South Korea. Its Korean name, Hannara, has a double meaning as "Great National" and "Korean National." The GNP holds a majority of seats in the 18th Assembly, lasting from 2008 to 2012....

, currently the ruling party in South Korea, have stated that they will not return to the Sunshine policy
Sunshine policy
The Sunshine Policy was the foreign policy of South Korea towards North Korea until Lee Myung-bak's election to presidency in 2008. Since its articulation in 1998 by South Korean President Kim Dae Jung, the policy resulted in greater political contact between the two nations and some historical...

 before North Korea gives up their nuclear weapons. South Korean newspapers have warned that North Korea's nuclear arsenal could destroy South Korea's conventional forces, and that the strategic military balance has irrevocably shifted in the aftermath of North Korea's nuclear test. Finally, the threat of a nuclear-armed North Korea has fed South Korea's perceived need for a larger standing army and defence force.

Some LDP
Liberal Democratic Party (Japan)
The , frequently abbreviated to LDP or , is a centre-right political party in Japan. It is one of the most consistently successful political parties in the democratic world. The LDP ruled almost continuously for nearly 54 years from its founding in 1955 until its defeat in the 2009 election...

 politicians in Japan have openly expressed a desire to change Article 9 of the Japanese Constitution
Article 9 of the Japanese Constitution
Article 9 of the Japanese Constitution is a clause in the National Constitution of Japan that prohibits an act of war by the state. The Constitution came into effect on May 3, 1947, immediately following World War II. In its text, the state formally renounces war as a sovereign right and bans...

, which prohibits the use of force as a tool for resolving international disputes. This desire has become increasingly relevant given the ability of North Korea's Rodong-1 missile to strike Tokyo, and it has gained increasing support as a result. Some estimates have claimed that as many as 3 of the 200 Rodong-1 missiles currently deployed may be fitted with nuclear warheads. Further fears about North Korea's ability to generate weapons-grade fissile materials in its projected civilian nuclear reactors have led to the consideration of the threat posed by the entire Rodong-1 missile fleet being armed with nuclear warheads and targeted on the Japanese home islands. (The missiles are able to cover 90% of Japanese territory. Moreover, their accuracy is so poor that they are only valid delivery systems when targeted on very large military installations or cities.)

Because it is impossible to be certain of shooting down every ballistic missile, it is preferable to ensure that the weapons cannot be manufactured in the first place. An attack on a plutonium production reactor, such as that carried out by the Israelis on the Iraqi reactor complex at Osirak (Operation Opera
Operation Opera
Operation Babylon was a surprise Israeli air strike carried out on June 7, 1981, that destroyed a nuclear reactor under construction 17 kilometers southeast of Baghdad, Iraq....

), may prevent or delay later nuclear attacks, though such an act could be seen as an act of war and subject to retaliation (albeit with conventional weaponry). Perhaps because of this both the Clinton and Bush administrations did not attempt an attack on North Korean nuclear facilities. Other avenues leading to the same result have failed: during the 2006 negotiations, North Korea rejected the suggestion that it demolish its two larger reactors. American interest in the region has waned, since the September 11, 2001 attacks
September 11, 2001 attacks
The September 11 attacks The September 11 attacks The September 11 attacks (also referred to as September 11, September 11th or 9/119/11 is pronounced "nine eleven". The slash is not part of the pronunciation...

, the Bush administration in the United States has made "terrorism" the focus of its foreign policy. Although the United States maintains a force of 28,500 troops in South Korea (the second largest U.S. troop deployment in East Asia), it is likely that that deployment would be considerably decreased if the political situation changed significantly in Korea, something expected to reduce U.S. influence in the region.

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
Six-party talks
The six-party talks aim to find a peaceful resolution to the security concerns as a result of the North Korean nuclear weapons program.There has been a series of meetings with six participating states:* The Democratic People's Republic of Korea ;...

, involving North Korea, South Korea, China, Russia, Japan and the U.S 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 U.S. and Japan. This had been delayed from April due to a dispute with the United States over Banco Delta Asia
Banco Delta Asia
Banco Delta Asia is a Macao-based bank owned by the Delta Asia Financial Group and founded in 1935 by Au Wing Ngok, father of Stanley Au, the current chairman and majority shareholder. It the 10th largest bank in Macao with eight branches and 150 employees.In March 2007, the U.S. Treasury ordered...

, but on July 14, International Atomic Energy Agency
International Atomic Energy Agency
The International Atomic Energy Agency is an international organization that seeks to promote the peaceful use of nuclear energy, and to inhibit its use for any military purpose, including nuclear weapons. The IAEA was established as an autonomous organization on 29 July 1957...

 inspectors confirm the shutdown of North Korea's Yongbyon nuclear reactor.

North Korea's ability to fulfil its energy needs has been deteriorating since the 1990s. Although North Korea's indigenous nuclear power-generating capacity is insignificant, the two light-water moderated plants would be an important source of electricity in a nation with scant resources. Donald Rumsfeld demonstrated the severe lack of electricity for the entire nation in a photograph released in October 2006.

Reactivation



During 2008 tensions resurfaced between North Korea and the U.S. due to disagreements over the six-party talks
Six-party talks
The six-party talks aim to find a peaceful resolution to the security concerns as a result of the North Korean nuclear weapons program.There has been a series of meetings with six participating states:* The Democratic People's Republic of Korea ;...

 disarmament process. According to one account, the talks began to break down after the United States insisted on more intrusive verification measures than North Korea was prepared to accept. On October 8, 2008, IAEA
International Atomic Energy Agency
The International Atomic Energy Agency is an international organization that seeks to promote the peaceful use of nuclear energy, and to inhibit its use for any military purpose, including nuclear weapons. The IAEA was established as an autonomous organization on 29 July 1957...

 inspectors were forbidden by the North Korean government to conduct further inspections of the site. But two days later, the U.S. removed North Korea from the U.S. State Sponsors of Terrorism list and the Yongbyon deactivation process was expected to resume.

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

On May 25, 2009, North Korea confirmed to have performed a "successful" underground nuclear test
2009 North Korean nuclear test
The 2009 North Korean nuclear test was the underground detonation of a nuclear device conducted on 25 May 2009 by North Korea. This was its second nuclear test, the first test having taken place in October 2006. Following the nuclear test, Pyongyang also conducted several missile tests.The test was...

. It was the second such test and it was said to be much more powerful than the first. The same day a successful short range missile test was also conducted. The confirmation came little more than an hour after the U.S. Geological Survey reported a magnitude 4.7 seismic disturbance on the proximity of the site of North Korea's first nuclear test conducted in October 2006, other agencies such as the International Data Center of the CTBTO, and the Japanese Meteorological Center, also registered the seismic variations. North Korea's Korean Central News Agency
Korean Central News Agency
The Korean Central News Agency is the state news agency of North Korea and has existed since December 5, 1946. KCNA is headquartered in the capital city of Pyongyang...

 said the test was conducted as part of the measures to bolster up its nuclear deterrent for self-defense in every way.

Nuclear fusion claims


In May 2010, the Rodong Sinmun
Rodong Sinmun
Rodong Sinmun is a North Korean newspaper and the official newspaper of the Central Committee of the Workers' Party of Korea, published by the Rodong News Agency. It is the most widely read newspaper in the country...

 announced in an article that North Korea had successfully carried out a nuclear fusion
Nuclear fusion
Nuclear fusion is the process by which two or more atomic nuclei join together, or "fuse", to form a single heavier nucleus. This is usually accompanied by the release or absorption of large quantities of energy...

 reaction. The aforementioned article, referring to the alleged test as "a great event that demonstrated the rapidly developing cutting-edge science and technology of the DPRK", also makes mention of efforts by North Korean scientists to develop "safe and environment-friendly new energy", and made no mention of plans to use fusion technology in its nuclear weapons program.

Biological and chemical weapons


North Korea acceded to the Biological Weapons Convention
Biological Weapons Convention
The Convention on the Prohibition of the Development, Production and Stockpiling of Bacteriological and Toxin Weapons and on their Destruction was the first multilateral disarmament treaty banning the...

 in 1987, and the Geneva Protocol
Geneva Protocol
The Protocol for the Prohibition of the Use in War of Asphyxiating, Poisonous or other Gases, and of Bacteriological Methods of Warfare, usually called the Geneva Protocol, is a treaty prohibiting the first use of chemical and biological weapons. It was signed at Geneva on June 17, 1925 and entered...

 on January 4, 1989, but has not signed the Chemical Weapons Convention
Chemical Weapons Convention
The Chemical Weapons Convention is an arms control agreement which outlaws the production, stockpiling and use of chemical weapons. Its full name is the Convention on the Prohibition of the Development, Production, Stockpiling and Use of Chemical Weapons and on their Destruction...

. The country is believed to possess a substantial arsenal of chemical weapons. It reportedly acquired the technology necessary to produce tabun
Tabun (nerve agent)
Tabun or GA is an extremely toxic chemical substance. It is a clear, colorless, and tasteless liquid with a faint fruity odor. It is classified as a nerve agent because it fatally interferes with normal functioning of the mammalian nervous system...

 and mustard gas as early as the 1950s.

History


The 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
FROG
In cryptography, FROG is a block cipher authored byGeorgoudis, Leroux and Chaves. The algorithm can work with any block size between 8 and 128 bytes, and supports key sizes between 5 and 125 bytes...

-series, capable of carrying either a conventional or WMD warhead for battlefield usage. Later the DPRK received shipments of longer range Scud
Scud
Scud is a series of tactical ballistic missiles developed by the Soviet Union during the Cold War, and exported widely to other countries. The term comes from the NATO reporting name SS-1 Scud which was attached to the missile by Western intelligence agencies...

-B missiles from Egypt (which in turn received those missiles from the USSR, Bulgaria and Poland). A local production basis was established, and the first modified copy was named Hwasong-5
Hwasong-5
The Hwasong-5 is a North Korean tactical ballistic missile derived from the Soviet R-17 Elbrus missile. It is one of several missiles with the NATO reporting name Scud....

. With time, more advanced types of missiles were developed. Eventually North Korea equipped itself with ballistic missiles, capable of reaching Japan.

Early 2000s


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 No Dong missiles is 1,400 km, enough to reach South Korea, Japan, and parts of Russia, and China, although they could potentially reach islands in the Pacific Ocean such as the Northern Mariana Islands
Northern Mariana Islands
The Northern Mariana Islands, officially the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands , is a commonwealth in political union with the United States, occupying a strategic region of the western Pacific Ocean. It consists of 15 islands about three-quarters of the way from Hawaii to the Philippines...

 and possibly even the state of Hawaii.

It is not known if this missile is actually capable of carrying the nuclear weapons North Korea has so far developed. The BM-25 is a North Korean designed long-range ballistic missile with range capabilities of up to 1550 miles (2,494.5 km), and could carry a nuclear warhead. North Korea has also developed the Taepodong-1
Taepodong-1
Taepodong-1 is a two-stage intermediate-range ballistic missile developed in North Korea, and the weapon is currently in use there. The missile was derived originally from the Scud rocket, and can allegedly serve as both a nuclear delivery system and a space launch vehicle...

 missile, which has a range of 2,500 km, but it is not yet in full deployment. With the development of the Taepodong-2
Taepodong-2
The Taepodong-2 is a designation used to indicate a North Korean two or three-stage ballistic missile design that is the successor to the Taepodong-1.-Details:...

 missile, with an expected range of 5,000–6,000 km, North Korea could hypothetically deliver a warhead to almost all countries in Southeast Asia, as well as the western side of North America.

The Taepodong-2 missile was unsuccessfully tested on July 4, 2006. U.S. intelligence estimates that the weapon will not be operational for another 11 years. The Taepodong-2 could theoretically hit the western United States and other US interests in the Western hemisphere. The current model of the Taepodong-2 could not carry nuclear warheads to the United States. Former CIA director George Tenet
George Tenet
George John Tenet was the Director of Central Intelligence for the United States Central Intelligence Agency, and is Distinguished Professor in the Practice of Diplomacy at Georgetown University....

 has claimed that, with a light payload, Taepodong-2 could reach western parts of Continental United States, though with low accuracy.

In 2007 North Korea's Taepodong-X/Nodong-B Mobile Ballistic Missile (now named "Musdan Missile") was deployed. This missile's design is based on the USSR's submarine launched R-27
R-27 (missile)
The R-27 Zyb was a submarine-launched ballistic missile developed by the Soviet Union and employed by the Soviet Navy from 1968 through 1988. NATO assigned the missile the reporting name SS-N-6 Serb. In the USSR, it was given the GRAU index 4K10...

 and extended the fuel tank to the 20 ton loading limit of the MAZ-543 transporter erector launcher
Transporter erector launcher
A transporter erector launcher is a vehicle with an integrated prime mover that can carry, elevate to firing position and launch one or more missiles. Such vehicles exist for both surface-to-air missiles and surface-to-surface missiles...

, and the estimated range is 3000–4000 km, which can strike Guam.

2009


On April 5, 2009, North Korea launched the Unha-2 space booster (allegedly based on the long-range Taepodong-2). Although the launch was more successful than the 2006 test, the third stage still failed to separate properly. A missile test or a satellite attempt, the launch still violates the UN Security Council's decision. Because the Unha-2's first stage engine is the Musudan (Nodong-B / Taepodong-X), North Korea claims they have demonstrated the 4000 km range and reliability of its new Musudan missile
Musudan (missile)
The Taepodong X, also known under the names Nodong / Rodong-B, Mirim and BM25 Musudan is a mobile intermediate-range ballistic missile developed by the Democratic People's Republic of Korea, based on Soviet Union's R-27 Zyb. The missile probably makes up the 2nd stage of Taepodong-2, a...

.

This means North Korea may be able to develop/deploy mobile ICBMs, which can survive a US first strike
First strike
In nuclear strategy, a first strike is a preemptive surprise attack employing overwhelming force. First strike capability is a country's ability to defeat another nuclear power by destroying its arsenal to the point where the attacking country can survive the weakened retaliation while the opposing...

, within 7–10 years.

On July 2, 2009, North Korea test fired a series of at least four surface-to-ship cruise missile
Cruise missile
A cruise missile is a guided missile that carries an explosive payload and is propelled, usually by a jet engine, towards a land-based or sea-based target. Cruise missiles are designed to deliver a large warhead over long distances with high accuracy...

s into the Sea of Japan
Sea of Japan
The Sea of Japan is a marginal sea of the western Pacific Ocean, between the Asian mainland, the Japanese archipelago and Sakhalin. It is bordered by Japan, North Korea, Russia and South Korea. Like the Mediterranean Sea, it has almost no tides due to its nearly complete enclosure from the Pacific...

 (East Sea). Two days later, on July 4, they proceeded to test fire a further seven Scud
Scud
Scud is a series of tactical ballistic missiles developed by the Soviet Union during the Cold War, and exported widely to other countries. The term comes from the NATO reporting name SS-1 Scud which was attached to the missile by Western intelligence agencies...

-type ballistic missile
Ballistic missile
A ballistic missile is a missile that follows a sub-orbital ballistic flightpath with the objective of delivering one or more warheads to a predetermined target. The missile is only guided during the relatively brief initial powered phase of flight and its course is subsequently governed by the...

s into the same sea. The tests are seen by world powers as a symbol of defiance to the United Nations set over North Korea after their nuclear test on May 25, 2009. These launches come only a week after US President Barack Obama
Barack Obama
Barack Hussein Obama II is the 44th and current President of the United States. He is the first African American to hold the office. Obama previously served as a United States Senator from Illinois, from January 2005 until he resigned following his victory in the 2008 presidential election.Born in...

 extended US economic sanctions against North Korea. This is also a response to the UN's sanctions that were imposed in June 2009, after Pyongyang's atomic test in May 2009, as well as the new UN resolution that any nation can inspect a North Korean vessel that the investigating nation believes is carrying weaponry. It has been suggested that the test firing of missiles is an act of defiance against the United States national holiday, Independence Day
Independence Day (United States)
Independence Day, commonly known as the Fourth of July, is a federal holiday in the United States commemorating the adoption of the Declaration of Independence on July 4, 1776, declaring independence from the Kingdom of Great Britain...

.

Japan Ministry of Defense's analyst Takesada points out that North Korea's desire of unification is similar to North Vietnam
North Vietnam
The Democratic Republic of Vietnam , was a communist state that ruled the northern half of Vietnam from 1954 until 1976 following the Geneva Conference and laid claim to all of Vietnam from 1945 to 1954 during the First Indochina War, during which they controlled pockets of territory throughout...

, and warns 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 US military presence in South Korea, after North Korea deploys several hundred mobile ICBMs aimed at the US.

Aims



These increases of missiles and nuclear tests may have dual purposes:
  • Internal: A source of prestige and legitimacy for the party and the leadership, affirming its power before the coming succession, thus strengthening internal security. A successful missile, nuclear and space program would also increase internal national pride and the international prestige of the regime.
  • International: USA, Japan, and South Korea are possibly the main diplomatic targets for these tests, but scholars also note that a resurgent China may be the ultimate diplomatic target. North Korea's aim might also be to eventually get more assistance from all these countries, in exchange for the reduction of missile and nuclear programs. This also secures a long term security need: preventing undue Chinese influence.


However, the true aims of North Korea remain officially unstated, and therefore open to speculation.

Delivery Systems


There is no evidence that North Korea has been able to miniaturize a nuclear warhead for use on a ballistic missile.

Successfully tested

  • KN-1 – a short-range anti-ship cruise missile. Its range is estimated to be around 160 kilometers, and most probably it's an improved version of the Soviet Termit missile (NATO codename "Styx").
  • KN-2 Toksa – a short-range, solid-fueled, highly accurate mobile missile, modified copy of the Soviet OTR-21. Unknown number in service, apparently deployed either in the late 1990s or early 2000s.
  • Hwasong-5
    Hwasong-5
    The Hwasong-5 is a North Korean tactical ballistic missile derived from the Soviet R-17 Elbrus missile. It is one of several missiles with the NATO reporting name Scud....

     – initial Scud modification. Road-mobile, liquid-fueled missile, with an estimated range of 330 km. It has been tested successfully. It is believed that North Korea has deployed some 150–200 such missiles on mobile launchers.
  • Hwasong-6
    Hwasong-6
    The Hwasong-6 is a North Korean tactical ballistic missile. It is derived from the Hwasong-5, itself a derivative of the Soviet R-17 Elbrus. It carries the NATO reporting name Scud....

     – later Scud modification. Similar to the Hwasong-5, yet with an increased range (550–700 km) and a smaller warhead (600–750 kg). Apparently this is the most widely deployed North Korean missile, with at least 400 missiles in use.
  • Nodong-1
    Nodong-1
    The Rodong-1 is a single stage, mobile liquid propellant medium range ballistic missile developed by North Korea...

     – larger and more advanced Scud modification. Liquid-fueled, road-mobile missile with a 650 kg warhead. First production variants had inertial guidance, later variants featured GPS guidance, which improves CEP accuracy to 190–250 m. Range is estimated to be between 1,300 and 1,600 km.
  • Nodong-2
    Nodong-2
    Rodong-2 is a single stage, mobile liquid propellant medium range ballistic missile developed by North Korea....

     – further improved variant of the Nodong-1, successfully tested in 2006. Range is estimated at about 2,000 km.
  • Taepodong-1
    Taepodong-1
    Taepodong-1 is a two-stage intermediate-range ballistic missile developed in North Korea, and the weapon is currently in use there. The missile was derived originally from the Scud rocket, and can allegedly serve as both a nuclear delivery system and a space launch vehicle...

     – two-stage Scud-derived missile. Has been tested with a satellite payload in 1998. The satellite failed, but the missile apparently flew without significant problems, therefore it is North Korea's longest-ranged operational missile with its 2,500 km maximum range. According to some analysts, the Taepodong-1 could have an intercontinental range of nearly 6,000 km with a third stage and a payload of less than 100 kg.

Not tested / failed tests

  • Musudan-1
    Musudan (missile)
    The Taepodong X, also known under the names Nodong / Rodong-B, Mirim and BM25 Musudan is a mobile intermediate-range ballistic missile developed by the Democratic People's Republic of Korea, based on Soviet Union's R-27 Zyb. The missile probably makes up the 2nd stage of Taepodong-2, a...

     – a modified copy of the Soviet R-27 Zyb SLBM. No tests of this missile have ever been made, but it is known to be operationally deployed. Most probably it is used as a first stage to the Taepodong-2. The missile, also known under the names Nodong-B, Taepodong-X and BM25, has a range of 4,000 kilometers.
  • Taepodong-2
    Taepodong-2
    The Taepodong-2 is a designation used to indicate a North Korean two or three-stage ballistic missile design that is the successor to the Taepodong-1.-Details:...

     – North Korea's domestic ICBM attempt. First test occurred in 2006, when the missile failed 40 seconds after launch. On April 5, 2009, a space booster variant was launched with a satellite
    Kwangmyŏngsŏng-2
    In this regard, a delegation of fifteen strong Iranian rocket scientists, including senior officials with Iranian rocket and satellite producer Shahid Hemmat Industrial Group, has been in the DPRK since the beginning of March, to help prepare for the launch...

     on board. As with in 1998, the satellite itself failed to reach orbit, but the missile flew several thousand kilometers before falling in the Pacific Ocean. Estimates of the range vary widely – from 4,500 to 10,000 kilometers (most estimates put the range at about 6,700 km).

Exports


In April 2009 the United Nations named the Korea Mining and Development Trading Corporation (aka 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 based in Central District Pyongyang. However it also has offices in Beijing and sales offices worldwide which facilitate weapons sales and seek new customers for North Korean weapons.

KOMID has sold missile technology to Iran and has done deals for missile related technology with the Taiwanese. KOMID representatives were also involved in a North Korean deal to mass produce Kornet anti-tank guided missiles for Syria 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.

North Korea's military has also used the company 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. Even in 1999, intelligence sources said North Korea had sold missile components to Iran. Listed directors of Hap Heng include Kim Song In and Ko Myong Hun. Ko Myong Hun is now a listed diplomat in Beijing and may be involved in the work of KOMID.

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

Export partners


These are countries which allegedly operate North Korean ballistic missiles, allegedly bought such or received assistance for establishing local production.

 Pakistan:
North Korean entities continued to provide assistance to Pakistan's ballistic missile program during the first half of 1999. Such assistance is critical for 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 US imposed sanctions against Pakistani and North Korean entities for their role in transferring Missile Technology Control Regime Category I ballistic missile-related technology.

 Cuba:
No confirmed information for North Korea shipping Hwasong-6
Hwasong-6
The Hwasong-6 is a North Korean tactical ballistic missile. It is derived from the Hwasong-5, itself a derivative of the Soviet R-17 Elbrus. It carries the NATO reporting name Scud....

 missiles to Cuba.

 Egypt:
Egypt has received technologies and assistance for making both the Hwasong-5
Hwasong-5
The Hwasong-5 is a North Korean tactical ballistic missile derived from the Soviet R-17 Elbrus missile. It is one of several missiles with the NATO reporting name Scud....

 and Hwasong-6, and may have as well provided guidance systems or information on longer-range missiles to North Korea from its Condor program.

 Ethiopia:
Unconfirmed information for possessing Hwasong-5 missiles.

 Iran:
One of the first buyers of North Korean missiles. Iran has established local production for the Hwasong-5 (Shahab-1), Hwasong-6 (Shahab-2
Shahab-2
The Shahab-2 is the successor to the Iranian Shahab-1 missile.The missile has a CEP of 50 m. On November 2, 2006, Iran fired unarmed missiles to begin 10 days of military simulations. Iranian state television reported "dozens of missiles were fired including Shahab-2 and Shahab-3 missiles...

) and the Rodong-1 (Shahab-3
Shahab-3
The Shahab-3 is a medium-range ballistic missile developed by Iran and based on the Nodong-1. The Shahab-3 has a range of ; a MRBM variant can now reach...

). Also possesses some 18 land-based BM25 missiles. North Korean weapons sales to Iran are estimated to total $2 billion annually.

 Libya:
Libya during the reign of Muammar Gaddafi
Muammar Gaddafi
Muammar Muhammad Abu Minyar Gaddafi or "September 1942" 20 October 2011), commonly known as Muammar Gaddafi or Colonel Gaddafi, was the official ruler of the Libyan Arab Republic from 1969 to 1977 and then the "Brother Leader" of the Libyan Arab Jamahiriya from 1977 to 2011.He seized power in a...

 had been known to receive technological assistance, blueprints and missile parts from North Korea.

 Nigeria:
In January 2004, the Nigerian government announced that North Korea agreed to sell it missile technology, but a month later Nigeria rejected the agreement under US pressure.

 Republic of the Congo:
There is some (although unconfirmed) information, that the Republic of the Congo
Republic of the Congo
The Republic of the Congo , sometimes known locally as Congo-Brazzaville, is a state in Central Africa. It is bordered by Gabon, Cameroon, the Central African Republic, the Democratic Republic of the Congo , the Angolan exclave province of Cabinda, and the Gulf of Guinea.The region was dominated by...

 has acquired Hwasong-5 missiles.

 Sudan:
There is some information that Syria shipped some of its North Korean designed Scud missiles to Sudan in 2004.

 Syria:
Uses two types of North Korean missiles – the Hwasong-6 and Rodong-1.

 United Arab Emirates
25 Hwasong-5s purchased from North Korea in 1989. The Military of the United Arab Emirates
Military of the United Arab Emirates
The Union Defence Force is the armed forces of the United Arab Emirates and has primary responsibility for the defense of all seven emirates. It consists of 65,000 personnel, and is headquartered in Abu Dhabi.-History:...

 were not satisfied with the quality of the missiles, and they were kept in storage.

 Vietnam
Acquired Hwasong-5/6 missiles in 1998.

 Yemen
Known to have bought Hwasong-5
Hwasong-5
The Hwasong-5 is a North Korean tactical ballistic missile derived from the Soviet R-17 Elbrus missile. It is one of several missiles with the NATO reporting name Scud....

 missiles from the DPRK in the 1990s – a total of 15 missiles, 15 TELs with 15 HE warheads.

See also

  • Nuclear power in North Korea
  • Foreign relations of North Korea
    Foreign relations of North Korea
    The foreign relations of North Korea are often tense and unpredictable. Since the Korean War armistice in 1953, the North Korean government has been largely isolationist, becoming one of the world's most authoritarian societies...

  • North Korea – United States relations
  • List of Korea-related topics

External links