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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 July 17, 2014 by Bruce Klingner Asia's Big Fear: Is America Emboldening China and North Korea?

    While world attention has focused on crises in Syria, Crimea and the Middle East, the security situation in Asia has deteriorated. As North Korea pursues another of its periodic charm offensives, it appears quiescent. Yet the regime continues to refine its nuclear strike capability. It is only a matter of time before Pyongyang resumes its escalatory, provocative behavior.…

  • 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…

  • 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.…

  • Testimony posted April 2, 2014 by Bruce Klingner North Korea: Sanctions, Nuclear and Missile Threat

    Testimony before Subcommittee on Asia and the Pacific of the Foreign Affairs Committee United States House of Representatives 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…

  • 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 December 29, 2013 by James Jay Carafano, Ph.D. 'Black swans' to watch out for in 2014

    Americans will die on American soil in large numbers. So predicted the Hart-Rudman Commission seven months before the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks. No commissioner felt good about it getting it right. But the purpose of identifying "black swan" events before they happen is to give our leaders a chance to prevent them. Here are some black swans that threaten to nest next…

  • 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]…

  • Commentary posted August 19, 2013 by Bruce Klingner The Kaesong Trap

    South and North Korean negotiators reached a preliminary agreement last week to reopen the jointly run industrial zone in Kaesong. But their success against considerable odds raises several questions. Most fundamentally, why does Seoul want to return to Kaesong in the first place? The benefits lop-sidedly accrue to Pyongyang, providing a steady source of hard currency…

  • Backgrounder posted July 24, 2013 by Bruce Klingner Enhancing South Korean–U.S. Naval Capabilities Is Critical to American Interests

    South Korean President Park Geun-hye has pledged to reach out diplomatically to North Korea to establish a reciprocal trust-building process. She is willing to provide economic benefits to facilitate North Korean denuclearization and progress toward Korean unification. But Park always emphasizes that the most important pillar of her “trustpolitik” strategy is first to…

  • 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)…

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  • America at Risk Memo posted June 1, 2010 by Jim Talent A Constitutional Basis for Defense

    Those who have not done so recently would benefit from studying what the United States Constitution says about the federal government’s responsibility to provide for the common defense. Most Americans had to memorize the preamble to the Constitution when they were children, so they are aware that one of the purposes of the document was to “provide for the common…

  • 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…

  • 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.…

  • Special Report posted April 5, 2011 by The Heritage Foundation A Strong National Defense: The Armed Forces America Needs and What They Will Cost

    Abstract The U.S. military force structure envisioned by the 2010 Quadrennial Defense Review and the President’s FY 2012 budget request is inadequate to protect vital U.S. national interests. After the “procurement holiday” during the 1990s and the wear and tear of the “long war against terrorism” in Iraq and Afghanistan, all military services urgently need to…

  • Commentary posted July 17, 2014 by Bruce Klingner Asia's Big Fear: Is America Emboldening China and North Korea?

    While world attention has focused on crises in Syria, Crimea and the Middle East, the security situation in Asia has deteriorated. As North Korea pursues another of its periodic charm offensives, it appears quiescent. Yet the regime continues to refine its nuclear strike capability. It is only a matter of time before Pyongyang resumes its escalatory, provocative behavior.…

  • Lecture posted May 22, 2013 by Mark B. Schneider Does North Korea Have a Missile-Deliverable Nuclear Weapon?

    A recent unclassified Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA) report, revealed by Congressman Doug Lamborn (R–CO) on April 11, 2013, stated, “DIA assesses with moderate confidence the North currently has nuclear weapons capable of delivery by ballistic missiles.”[1] This is disturbing news. The North Korean regime is one of the most fanatic, paranoid, and militaristic…

  • Backgrounder posted July 24, 2013 by Bruce Klingner Enhancing South Korean–U.S. Naval Capabilities Is Critical to American Interests

    South Korean President Park Geun-hye has pledged to reach out diplomatically to North Korea to establish a reciprocal trust-building process. She is willing to provide economic benefits to facilitate North Korean denuclearization and progress toward Korean unification. But Park always emphasizes that the most important pillar of her “trustpolitik” strategy is first to…

  • 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…

  • Testimony posted April 2, 2014 by Bruce Klingner North Korea: Sanctions, Nuclear and Missile Threat

    Testimony before Subcommittee on Asia and the Pacific of the Foreign Affairs Committee United States House of Representatives 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…

  • WebMemo posted January 10, 2011 by Derek Scissors, Ph.D. Hu Visit a Time to Press, Not Celebrate

    As President Barack Obama prepares to receive Chinese President Hu Jintao on a state visit to the U.S., expectations are muted. For Beijing, the summit is primarily intended to cap Hu’s career as the PRC readies for the 2012 transition of power to Xi Jinping and Li Keqiang. A trip with no real issues would be in keeping with their goals of celebrating Hu and facilitating…

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  • 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]…

  • Backgrounder posted July 24, 2013 by Bruce Klingner Enhancing South Korean–U.S. Naval Capabilities Is Critical to American Interests

    South Korean President Park Geun-hye has pledged to reach out diplomatically to North Korea to establish a reciprocal trust-building process. She is willing to provide economic benefits to facilitate North Korean denuclearization and progress toward Korean unification. But Park always emphasizes that the most important pillar of her “trustpolitik” strategy is first to…

  • 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)…

  • 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.…

  • Issue Brief posted April 8, 2013 by Bruce Klingner North Korean Threats: What Washington Should Do

    North Korea is easy to ridicule. The country is an anachronistic hangover from the Cold War, replete with cartoonish propaganda and over-the-top threats. Its leader could well play the villain in a James Bond or Austin Powers movie. Self-appointed ambassador Dennis Rodman’s visit affirmed the image of the reclusive regime as the ultimate reality show. As such, the…

  • Issue Brief posted March 27, 2013 by Bruce Klingner Increasing Risk of North Korean Tactical Attack on South Korea: What U.S. Needs to Do

    North Korea routinely threatens to annihilate South Korea, the United States, and Japan. After its recent successful long-range missile and nuclear tests, Pyongyang now claims it already has the capability to target U.S. bases in the Pacific and the American homeland with nuclear weapons. As frightening as these warnings are, North Korea would more likely conduct another…

  • Issue Brief posted January 28, 2013 by Bruce Klingner North Korea Nuclear Test: Time for U.S. and U.N. to Get Serious on Sanctions

    North Korea has again openly defied the international community, first by launching a rocket in violation of United Nations resolutions and then threatening those that seek to punish—however meekly—the regime for its transgressions. Yet the United States and the U.N. remain reluctant to fully implement measures to make sanctions more effective. This policy timidity…

  • Issue Brief posted December 6, 2012 by Bruce Klingner North Korean Missile Launch Challenges U.S. Foreign Policy

    North Korea announced on December 1 that, between December 10 and 22, it would again attempt to launch a “civilian satellite.” The Unha-3 launch vehicle is the same as the Taepo Dong-2 (TD-2) intercontinental ballistic missile that North Korea previously test launched in 2006, 2009, and 2012. North Korea bragged in October that its missiles could “strike the U.S.…

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Find more work on North Korea