Issue Brief on “North Korea’s Nuclear Programme and Ballistic Missile Capabilities: An Assessment”


Following its last nuclear tests in 2016, North Korea has since carried out a string of ground and air launch tests of new rocket engines and ballistic missiles over the Sea of Japan and the Pacific Ocean. According to Troy Stangarone, senior director at the Korea Economic Institute, North Korea has ”averaged 10.8 missile tests per year on the 2012-2016 period.”[1]

North Korea’s nuclear programme has been a source of concern for the international community ever since it withdrew from the Nuclear-Non Proliferation Treaty in 2003 and took the path to nuclear weapons development.  Despite concerted efforts to curtail its nuclear programme, Pyongyang has conducted five underground nuclear test on October 2006, May 2009, February 2013, January 2016 and September 2016.[2] It also has an advanced ballistic missile programme ranging from short to medium range ballistic missiles and there are reports that it has intercontinental ballistic missiles also under development.

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