North Korea


North Korea’s New Rocket Engine Test: What Does It Mean?

, co-director and senior scientist

North Korea announced on Tuesday that it had successfully tested a new, larger rocket engine. It says the engine will allow it build a more capable satellite launcher—a “rocket for the geo-stationary satellite.”

Many outside North Korea, however, see its satellite launch program as a way of developing technologies that it could use to build long-range military missiles.

What do we know about the new engine, and what might its implications be? Read more >

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Range of the North Korean KN-11 Sub-Launched Missile

, co-director and senior scientist

Last week, on August 24, North Korea conducted a test of the KN-11 submarine-launched missile it is currently developing. This is the third test of the missile this year, and the first time the missile appeared to operate as planned. (A list of previous tests can be found here.) Read more >

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What Can North Korea’s Missiles Reach?

, co-director and senior scientist

          Updated 9/9/16

North Korea launched a series of missile tests in recent weeks. Here’s a summary of the North’s various missile systems and my understanding of where they stand, based in part on computer modeling of their capabilities. Read more >

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Rethinking Nuclear Deterrence: Korea and No First Use

, China project manager and senior analyst
"Scenes of Atomic Weapons Explosions": A Chinese propaganda poster. The quote from Chairman Mao on the left reads: "The atomic bomb is a paper tiger used by the US reactionary clique to scare people. It appears frightening but in reality it is not."

A Chinese propaganda poster titled, “Scenes of Atomic Weapons Explosions.” The quote from Chairman Mao in red on the left reads: “The atomic bomb is a paper tiger used by the US reactionary clique to scare people. It appears frightening but in reality it is not.”

There are US defense and foreign policy experts who assert that history proves the United States should retain the option to use nuclear weapons to prevent non-nuclear attacks against the United States and its allies. The evidence supporting that assertion is questionable.

The historical record in Europe is ambiguous. Although there was no Soviet attack against Western Europe during the Cold War it is difficult to prove US threats to use nuclear weapons were responsible for preventing it. There is convincing evidence, however, that the fear of US nuclear weapons failed to deter the People’s Republic of China (PRC) from attacking US forces in Korea. Read more >

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Japan Can Accept No First Use

, China project manager and senior analyst
Estimated effects of a single Chinese nuclear warhead targeting the U.S. naval base in Yokosuka in retaliation for U.S. first use of nuclear weapons in a conventional war with China.

Estimated effects of a single Chinese nuclear warhead targeting the U.S. naval base in Yokosuka in retaliation for U.S. first use of nuclear weapons in a conventional war with China.

Most Japanese security professionals currently prefer the United States maintain the option to use nuclear weapons first. But should President Obama declare that the sole purpose of U.S. nuclear weapons is to deter and, if necessary, respond to the use of nuclear weapons by another country, extensive interviews with those same Japanese security professionals indicate they would accept the change. Read more >

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