• Strategic Comments

    North Korea’s fifth nuclear test

    05 October 2016. 

    North Korea conducted its fifth and most powerful nuclear test on 9 September, and is moving towards mounting a nuclear bomb on ballistic missiles of increasing range. The Obama administration's policy of strategic patience may now be insufficient. Pyongyang is unlikely to restrain its nuclear bomb and ballistic missile development in the absence of greater US and Chinese assertiveness and more creative strategies.

  • Expert Commentary

    38 North: North Korea–Iran Missile Cooperation

    26 September 2016.  Are Pyongyang and Tehran collaborating on ballistic-missile development? Michael Elleman, IISS Consulting Senior Fellow for Missile Defence, looks at the science behind recent speculation, offering a detailed analysis of the missile designs employed by each country to ascertain whether such collaboration is indeed taking place.

  • IISS Voices

    Matthew Cottee: North Korea’s fifth nuclear test: time to take its nuclear status seriously?

    09 September 2016.  Even though North Korea’s latest nuclear test was widely forecast to happen, there is no clear indication of what the international response will, or could, comprise. As Matthew Cottee explains, the US has promised ‘serious consequences’ and South Korean President Park Geun-hye has referred to Kim Jong-un’s ‘maniacal recklessness’ as a step towards self-destruction, but there are few indications of how these condemnations will translate into substantive policy.

  • Politics and Strategy

    Mark Fitzpatrick: A welcome North Korean defection

    19 August 2016.  At a London think tank two years ago, I had an argument with a North Korean diplomat. Fed up with his ambassador's peace-loving protestations and the polite questions put to him by the largely British audience, I broke protocol and asked what possible purpose was served by his nation calling the leader of the free world a ‘wicked black monkey’. Afterwards, the embassy's number two official took me aside to explain that the North Korean...

  • Events

    IISS Shangri-La Dialogue 2016 Retrospective: Nuclear Developments in North Korea

    20 July 2016. 

    Discussion Meeting
    Seok-soo Lee, Director-General, Research Institute for National Security Affairs, Korea National Defense University
    Kongdan (Katy) Oh, Senior Asia Specialist, Institute for Defense Analyses
    IISS–Americas, Washington DC
    Wednesday 20 July 2016, 10–11.00AM EDT

  • Events

    Nuclear Proliferation Success and Failure: Iran and North Korea

    14 July 2016. 

    IISS Webinar
    Mark Fitzpatrick, Executive Director, IISS–Americas
    Thursday 14 July 2016, 10–11AM BST

  • IISS Voices

    Michael Elleman: North Korea’s Musudan missile effort advances

    27 June 2016.  North Korea's first successful test of its Musudan intermediate-range ballistic missile has aroused fears that it could be used to strike targets throughout the region, including the US island territory of Guam. However, as Michael Elleman explains, the missile is not yet capable of reaching Guam with a warhead weighing more than 500kg. He cautions that regardless of the success of the test, the confirmation that North Korea does indeed...

  • Shangri-La Dialogue

    Containing the North Korean Threat

    04 June 2016. 

    Shangri-La Dialogue 2016 Special Session One
    Chair: General The Lord Richards of Herstmonceux, Senior Adviser for the Middle East and Asia-Pacific, IISS; former Chief of the Defence Staff, United Kingdom
    Shinsuke Sugiyama, Deputy Minister for Foreign Affairs, Japan 
    Yoon Soon Gu, Director-General, International Policy Bureau, Ministry of National Defense, Republic of Korea   
    Colonel Lu Yin, Associate Researcher, National Defense University, People’s Liberation Army, China
    Aidan Foster-Carter, Honorary Senior Research Fellow in Sociology and Modern Korea, Leeds University

  • Strategic Dossiers

    Chapter Seven: North Korea’s threat to regional security

    03 June 2016. 

    Pyongyang’s multiple threats; Two Kims, four nuclear tests; Cyber and electronic warfare; The prioritisation problem; Cold War revived; Human rights; South Korea: sunshine, sunset; Kaesong; Potential flashpoints; Back to diplomacy?; Conclusion

  • Shangri-La Voices

    Mark Fitzpatrick: Squeezing North Korea’s foreign earnings

    03 June 2016.  The 1 June decision by the United States Treasury to name North Korea as a ‘primary money laundering concern’ is the latest in a series of efforts by concerned nations to peacefully change Pyongyang’s calculus, writes Mark Fitzpatrick.

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