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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
  • Testimony posted September 19, 2016 by Bruce Klingner Creating a Comprehensive Policy Response to North Korean Threats and Provocations

    Testimony before the Subcommittee on Asia and the Pacific Committee on Foreign Affairs U.S. House of Representatives September 14, 2016 My name is Bruce Klingner. I am the Senior Research Fellow for Northeast Asia at The Heritage Foundation. The views I express in this testimony are my own, and should not be construed as representing any official position of The Heritage…

  • Backgrounder posted August 11, 2016 by Bruce Klingner Chinese Foot-dragging on North Korea Thwarts U.S. Security Interests

    North Korea’s fourth nuclear test, held in January 2016, paradoxically triggered a stronger international response than any of its first three. Although this latest test was not significantly larger than its previous ones, it did result in an international consensus that stronger, more comprehensive sanctions must be imposed on North Korea for its serial violations of its…

  • Commentary posted June 27, 2016 by James Jay Carafano, Ph.D. Sanctions Won't Bring Kim to Heel

    How do you solve a problem like Kim Jong Un? The solutions proposed thus far on the campaign trail are less than promising. For example, both Democratic candidate Bernie Sanders, a U.S. senator from Vermont, and Republican hopeful Donald Trump have suggested outsourcing the challenge of dealing with North Korea to China. That’s magical thinking. The notion that Beijing…

  • Commentary posted May 11, 2016 by Bruce Klingner North Korea Party Congress: Much Ado About Nothing

    When Kim Jong-un convened a rare Korea Workers’ Party (KWP) Congress on May 6, – the first in 36 years and only the 7th in North Korean history – it generated speculation of sweeping policy changes. But the Congress produced no historic reform, only a disappointing, crickets-chirping ennui. The Party Congress emphasized pageantry over policy change, rubber stamp over…

  • Commentary posted May 4, 2016 by Edwin J. Feulner, Ph.D. How to Encourage Peace in North Korea

    SEOUL – Every Korean I know remains saddened by the division of the Korean people into a North and a South at the 38th parallel. The Korean people still dream of reunification, even as they tell me about their appreciation for the sacrifices that their friends, the Americans, made for Korea’s freedom. When we talk about the situation north of the demilitarized zone, it’s…

  • Commentary posted March 31, 2016 by Bruce Klingner Allied Coordination Needed to Counter North Korea

    North Korea is easy to ridicule. Its portly, rhomboid-haired leader looks like an Austin Powers villain. His over-the-top, bombastic threats sound like Soviet propaganda on steroids. Nighttime satellite photography suggests it can't even power a light bulb. No wonder it's been routinely dismissed as not posing a threat for "at least several more years." Despite the…

  • Commentary posted March 11, 2016 by Bruce Klingner Showing More Resolve on North Korea

    For years, North Korea has violated U.S. law and U.N. resolutions. Among its many infractions, it has continued its prohibited nuclear and missile programs; committed gross human rights violations; counterfeited U.S. currency and indulged in repeated acts of terrorism and acts of war. Yet the United States has only half-heartedly addressed these violations. For example,…

  • Commentary posted February 26, 2016 by Bruce Klingner Dear President Obama: It's Time to Confront the North Korea Question

    North Korea’s recent nuclear and missile tests have certainly shocked the world and triggered a cascade of stern responses. South Korean President Park Geun-hye stood up to Chinese pressure and economic blackmail by moving forward to improve her country’s defenses by deploying important American missile defenses—Terminal High Altitude Area Defense, or what is commonly…

  • Commentary posted February 9, 2016 by Bruce Klingner Look Out, America: North Korea Can Hit the U.S. With Nukes

    North Korea has again successfully put a satellite into orbit, demonstrating the same technology needed to launch an intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) and showing that its long-range missile program is becoming increasingly reliable. In 2015, the commanders of U.S. Forces Korea, Pacific Command and North American Aerospace Defense Command (NORAD) publicly…

  • Commentary posted February 7, 2016 by Bruce Klingner North Korea's Missile Launch Threat Raises the Stakes

    North Korea recently announced it will launch a long-range missile sometime this month, perhaps as soon as February 8. The regime claims the payload will be merely a civilian “earth observation satellite.” Even if true, United Nations (UN) Security Council resolutions specifically preclude Pyongyang from “any further launches that use ballistic missile technology.” Both…

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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…

  • 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…

  • 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…

  • Commentary posted October 15, 2014 by Bruce Klingner Power, Not Policy, Drives Pyongyang's Purge

    Despite being the “second most powerful man in North Korea,” Jang Song Taek has reportedly been purged from the leadership elite for the third time. Jang, Vice Chairman of the important National Defense Commission, ascended to the pinnacle of power after marrying the sister of previous leader Kim Jong Il. Although Jang returned to senior positions after his previous…

  • Commentary posted March 13, 2013 by Peter Brookes North Korea Threats Could be Real

    When considering recent North Korean promises of devastating military strikes against the United States and South Korea, it’s important to understand that Pyongyang carries out its threats — except when it doesn’t. Despite this, it’s probably best not to take any chances. Once again, North Korea is pushing tensions in Northeast Asia to a fever-pitch. In addition 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…

  • Commentary posted May 12, 2014 by Dean Cheng The Odd Couple: China and North Korea

    Are Beijing and Pyongyang finally on the outs? Recent reports that the People’s Republic of China (PRC) has not exported any crude oil to North Korea for the last three months certainly raise the possibility. But hopes of a rift have been dashed before. To assess the situation accurately, one must first understand Chinese security calculations about the Korean peninsula.…

  • 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…

  • 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…

  • 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,…

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  • Testimony posted September 19, 2016 by Bruce Klingner Creating a Comprehensive Policy Response to North Korean Threats and Provocations

    Testimony before the Subcommittee on Asia and the Pacific Committee on Foreign Affairs U.S. House of Representatives September 14, 2016 My name is Bruce Klingner. I am the Senior Research Fellow for Northeast Asia at The Heritage Foundation. The views I express in this testimony are my own, and should not be construed as representing any official position of The Heritage…

  • Backgrounder posted August 11, 2016 by Bruce Klingner Chinese Foot-dragging on North Korea Thwarts U.S. Security Interests

    North Korea’s fourth nuclear test, held in January 2016, paradoxically triggered a stronger international response than any of its first three. Although this latest test was not significantly larger than its previous ones, it did result in an international consensus that stronger, more comprehensive sanctions must be imposed on North Korea for its serial violations of its…

  • Commentary posted May 4, 2016 by Edwin J. Feulner, Ph.D. How to Encourage Peace in North Korea

    SEOUL – Every Korean I know remains saddened by the division of the Korean people into a North and a South at the 38th parallel. The Korean people still dream of reunification, even as they tell me about their appreciation for the sacrifices that their friends, the Americans, made for Korea’s freedom. When we talk about the situation north of the demilitarized zone, it’s…

  • Backgrounder posted January 12, 2016 by Olivia Enos, Bruce Klingner Next Steps for Human Rights in North Korea

    After the release of the report of the United Nations commission of inquiry on human rights in North Korea (COI) in February 2014, the world can no longer deny the severity of Pyongyang’s human rights crisis. The horrific tales of abuse and sheer magnitude of “systematic, widespread and grave violations of human rights” led the U.N. to conclude that North Korea was guilty…

  • Issue Brief posted January 6, 2016 by Bruce Klingner North Korea Claims Successful H-Bomb Nuclear Test

    North Korea announced on January 4 that it had conducted a successful H-bomb nuclear test of a miniaturized warhead.[1] Prior to the announcement, sensors had detected a 5.1 magnitude seismic event at the same approximate location as North Korea’s 2013 nuclear test. Nuclear experts are continuing to analyze the data, but preliminary assessments are that North Korea did…

  • 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,…

Find more work on North Korea
Find more work on North Korea