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North Korea

North Korea’s repressive regime, missile technology, and potential nuclear program create numerous security and economic problems for the U.S. and the countries of Northeast Asia.

HIGHLIGHTS

Our Research & Offerings on North Korea
  • Commentary posted May 14, 2015 by Bruce Klingner Gamechanger: North Korea's Submarine Launched Missile Test

    On May 8, North Korea successfully conducted its first underwater ejection test of a submarine-launched ballistic missile (SLBM). Analysts had predicted it would be several years before that would happen. Small wonder North Korean leader Kim Jong-un was jubilant.  He declared the development a “time bomb attached to the backs of our enemies when the SLBMs enter a…

  • Commentary posted April 20, 2015 by Bruce Klingner The World's Greatest Nuclear Fear: Will Iran Pull a North Korea?

    The interim Iranian nuclear framework is a vague accord with significant shortcomings. Moreover, the ink had barely dried before Iranian Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei disputed the Obama administration’s depiction of what had been agreed to. Khamenei declared that all sanctions against Iran must be removed immediately upon signature of a final accord in three…

  • Backgrounder posted April 20, 2015 by Bruce Klingner Respond Cautiously to North Korean Engagement Offers

    In what is now something of an annual rite on the Korean Peninsula, 2015 dawned with perceived signals of North Korea’s supposed desire to resurrect diplomatic ties with the United States and South Korea. Although these signals were met with predictions of another inter-Korean summit, Pyongyang’s offer to refrain from nuclear tests in return for a freeze on allied…

  • Commentary posted April 15, 2015 by Kim R. Holmes, Ph.D. Iran nuclear agreement a rerun of North Korea

    A U.S. president reaches a nuclear agreement with a rogue state. He steps before the microphones and declares, “This is a good deal for the United States.” The pariah nation will, he continues, “freeze and then dismantle its nuclear program” and the “entire world will be safer as we slow the spread of nuclear weapons.” It was President Bill Clinton speaking about the…

  • Issue Brief posted April 10, 2015 by Olivia Enos North Korea Should Be Held Accountable for Persecuting Christians

    In February 2014, the United Nations Commission of Inquiry (COI) on Human Rights in the Democratic People’s Republic of North Korea (DPRK) confirmed the world’s worst fears: North Korea is guilty of crimes against humanity.[1] In addition to the atrocities committed by the Kim regime, the report found that “there is no effective freedom of religious belief in the…

  • Issue Brief posted March 20, 2015 by Bruce Klingner The U.S. Needs to Respond to North Korea’s Latest Cyber Attack

    On March 17, Seoul accused Pyongyang of conducting a series of cyber attacks against South Korean nuclear facilities in December 2014.[1] South Korean prosecutors assert that North Korean hackers were responsible for repeated disclosures of information, including blueprints of South Korean nuclear reactors gleaned from cyber attacks, as well as threats to extort money and…

  • Backgrounder posted February 26, 2015 by Lisa Curtis, Olivia Enos Combating Human Trafficking in Asia Requires U.S. Leadership

    Despite increased U.S. foreign policy attention over the past decade, human trafficking remains widespread and deeply entrenched in many Asian countries. The precise number of people being trafficked is difficult to estimate, but new studies suggest nearly 36 million victims worldwide. Of those 36 million, nearly two-thirds are from Asia.[1] Total profits from worldwide…

  • Commentary posted January 12, 2015 by Theodore R. Bromund, Ph.D. On North Korea, a one-shot's not enough

    The media is under assault in the United States and abroad. The terrorist attacks in France are more shocking, but the cyberwar on Sony is more dangerous: none of us are isolated from the Internet. The Obama administration's response to the Sony hack pointed in the right direction, but it wasn't enough. One of the problems with cyber-attacks is that it's hard to know…

  • Commentary posted December 29, 2014 by James Jay Carafano, Ph.D. The Sony Hack, Edward Snowden and Ordered Liberty

    Americans have seen the future, and they don't much like it.  The Sony hack reminds us that everything online is vulnerable. Worse, malicious digital acts can be a bridge to the real world with threats of blackmail, extortion and physical violence. We are not safe in our own cyber homes. That's not the holiday message Americans wanted to hear. Most are angry and want to…

  • Commentary posted December 11, 2014 by Peter Brookes Sony Caper Shows Web of Intrigue

    Newsflash: North Korea did not hack into Sony Pictures in retaliation for the studio’s upcoming release of “The Interview” — based on a script about a kooky, clandestine CIA plot to off North Korean leader Kim Jong Un. How do we know? Well, naturally, an unidentified diplomat at the North Korean mission to the United Nations in New York City told the Voice of America…

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  • Backgrounder posted February 26, 2015 by Lisa Curtis, Olivia Enos Combating Human Trafficking in Asia Requires U.S. Leadership

    Despite increased U.S. foreign policy attention over the past decade, human trafficking remains widespread and deeply entrenched in many Asian countries. The precise number of people being trafficked is difficult to estimate, but new studies suggest nearly 36 million victims worldwide. Of those 36 million, nearly two-thirds are from Asia.[1] Total profits from worldwide…

  • Backgrounder posted June 14, 2011 by Bruce Klingner Top 10 Reasons Why the U.S. Marines on Okinawa Are Essential to Peace and Security in the Pacific

    Abstract: Two factors have driven the debate over the planned U.S. military realignment in Japan: campaign pledges made by the Democratic Party of Japan and complaints from Okinawans about the presence of the U.S. military. These factors have had a particularly strong impact on efforts to preserve the Marine Corps Air Station on Okinawa. However, other critical…

  • Backgrounder posted April 11, 2013 by Bruce Klingner The U.S. Should Support New South Korean President’s Approach to North Korea

    In late February 2013, Park Geun-hye was inaugurated as the 11th President of South Korea. Park’s ascent comes at a critical juncture in the Republic’s history: Facing several formidable challenges—rising regional security threats, economic uncertainty, and growing pressure to address domestic income disparities—South Korea needs strong and decisive political leadership.…

  • WebMemo posted January 6, 2012 by Bruce Klingner The Missing Asia Pivot in Obama's Defense Strategy

    President Obama’s new defense strategy is long on rhetoric but bereft of details on how it will actually be implemented. The President boldly promised to maintain or augment U.S. military capabilities against a spectrum of global threats, but planned draconian defense cuts of $1 trillion would undermine the U.S.’s ability to achieve its national interests and defend…

  • Issue Brief posted July 22, 2013 by Bruce Klingner North Korean–Cuban Arms Shipment Shows Need to Tighten Sanctions

    Even by North Korean standards, the story was odd. To a world used to North Korean exports of weapons, the seizure of a North Korean ship carrying arms from Cuba was unique. Pyongyang’s attempted transshipment of antiquated weapons revealed much about the North Korean regime. First, Pyongyang clearly continues to violate multiple United Nations Security Council (UNSC)…

  • WebMemo posted February 17, 2009 by Bruce Klingner North Korea's Missile Gambit

    North Korea may be preparing to test-launch a long-range Taepo Dong-2 missile from its eastern coast. A missile launch, or even observable preparations for such a launch, would be the next step in Pyongyang's escalating efforts to pressure the U.S. and South Korea to soften their policies toward the North Korean dictatorship. Needless to say, it would be deeply…

  • Backgrounder posted August 7, 2014 by Bruce Klingner The U.S. and South Korea Should Focus on Improving Alliance Capabilities Rather Than the OPCON Transition

    If hostilities break out between North Korea and South Korea (ROK), the current agreement between Washington and Seoul would put all ROK forces under control of the bilateral Combined Forces Command (CFC), which is led by a U.S. general. During armistice,[1] the government of South Korea controls its military forces, while the U.S. controls all U.S. and international…

  • Issue Brief posted February 20, 2014 by Bruce Klingner U.S. Should Augment Sanctions After North Korean Crimes Against Humanity

    A United Nations Commission of Inquiry issued a damning condemnation of the North Korea government for “systemic, widespread, and gross violations of human rights.” The commission concluded that the human rights abuses were of such a monumental scale as to constitute crimes against humanity. The panel recommended referral to the International Criminal Court (ICC) for…

  • Issue Brief posted July 17, 2012 by Bruce Klingner Power Struggle in Pyongyang

    North Korea’s dismissal of Vice Marshal Ri Yong-ho, chief of the Korea People’s Army General Staff, suggests there has been more turmoil behind the curtain of power than observers had previously thought. Yet it is unclear whether Ri’s removal was due to a more secure Kim Jong-un feeling confident enough to purge even from the innermost circle to further consolidate his…

  • Commentary posted March 15, 2011 by Bruce Klingner North Korea May Have Nuclear Warheads

    On March 10, Lt. Gen. Ronald Burgess, director of the Defense Intelligence Agency, testified that North Korea “may now have several plutonium-based nuclear warheads that it can deliver by ballistic missiles and aircraft as well as unconventional means.” It is uncertain whether Lt. General Burgess’s statement is based on new intelligence reporting or a higher level of…

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  • Backgrounder posted April 20, 2015 by Bruce Klingner Respond Cautiously to North Korean Engagement Offers

    In what is now something of an annual rite on the Korean Peninsula, 2015 dawned with perceived signals of North Korea’s supposed desire to resurrect diplomatic ties with the United States and South Korea. Although these signals were met with predictions of another inter-Korean summit, Pyongyang’s offer to refrain from nuclear tests in return for a freeze on allied…

  • Issue Brief posted April 10, 2015 by Olivia Enos North Korea Should Be Held Accountable for Persecuting Christians

    In February 2014, the United Nations Commission of Inquiry (COI) on Human Rights in the Democratic People’s Republic of North Korea (DPRK) confirmed the world’s worst fears: North Korea is guilty of crimes against humanity.[1] In addition to the atrocities committed by the Kim regime, the report found that “there is no effective freedom of religious belief in the…

  • Issue Brief posted March 20, 2015 by Bruce Klingner The U.S. Needs to Respond to North Korea’s Latest Cyber Attack

    On March 17, Seoul accused Pyongyang of conducting a series of cyber attacks against South Korean nuclear facilities in December 2014.[1] South Korean prosecutors assert that North Korean hackers were responsible for repeated disclosures of information, including blueprints of South Korean nuclear reactors gleaned from cyber attacks, as well as threats to extort money and…

  • Backgrounder posted February 26, 2015 by Lisa Curtis, Olivia Enos Combating Human Trafficking in Asia Requires U.S. Leadership

    Despite increased U.S. foreign policy attention over the past decade, human trafficking remains widespread and deeply entrenched in many Asian countries. The precise number of people being trafficked is difficult to estimate, but new studies suggest nearly 36 million victims worldwide. Of those 36 million, nearly two-thirds are from Asia.[1] Total profits from worldwide…

  • Issue Brief posted November 24, 2014 by Bruce Klingner U.S. Election Should Energize Asia Policies

    The results of the midterm elections could reinvigorate U.S. policies toward Asia, which have suffered from a lack of resources and resolve. The new Congress will likely be more supportive of concluding free trade agreements, funding U.S. defense requirements, and imposing additional sanctions to leverage North Korean compliance with international agreements. That said,…

  • Issue Brief posted September 17, 2014 by Bruce Klingner U.S. Should Seek Release of Detainees in North Korea—Without Policy Concessions

    North Korea has sentenced Matthew Miller, a 20-year-old American tourist, to six years of hard labor for attempted espionage. Miller reportedly ripped up his tourist visa and declared he wanted asylum but Pyongyang accused him of intending to “experience prison life so that he could investigate the human rights situation” in North Korea. The regime is also holding Jeffrey…

  • Backgrounder posted August 7, 2014 by Bruce Klingner The U.S. and South Korea Should Focus on Improving Alliance Capabilities Rather Than the OPCON Transition

    If hostilities break out between North Korea and South Korea (ROK), the current agreement between Washington and Seoul would put all ROK forces under control of the bilateral Combined Forces Command (CFC), which is led by a U.S. general. During armistice,[1] the government of South Korea controls its military forces, while the U.S. controls all U.S. and international…

  • Backgrounder posted June 3, 2014 by Bruce Klingner Allies Should Confront Imminent North Korean Nuclear Threat

    Experts predominantly assess that North Korea has developed several nuclear devices, but not yet mastered the ability to miniaturize a warhead or deliver it via missile. Media reports habitually declare that North Korean missiles cannot yet reach the United States. Based on this benign conclusion, policymakers presume the United States and its allies still have several…

  • Issue Brief posted February 20, 2014 by Bruce Klingner U.S. Should Augment Sanctions After North Korean Crimes Against Humanity

    A United Nations Commission of Inquiry issued a damning condemnation of the North Korea government for “systemic, widespread, and gross violations of human rights.” The commission concluded that the human rights abuses were of such a monumental scale as to constitute crimes against humanity. The panel recommended referral to the International Criminal Court (ICC) for…

  • Backgrounder posted November 4, 2013 by Bruce Klingner Time to Get North Korean Sanctions Right

    Responding to North Korea’s third nuclear test in 2013, President Barack Obama declared that North Korea’s nuclear weapons program was a “threat to the U.S. national security and to international peace and security.”[1] The U.N. Security Council similarly warned that North Korea’s nuclear and missile threats posed “a clear threat to international peace and security.”[2]…

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Find more work on North Korea