North Korea

The big picture

A landmark nuclear arms treaty shows its age

The Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty is at risk of becoming outdated in a more dangerous world.

Mar 7, 2020 - World
How North Korea executes people

Most are public executions by firing squad.

Jun 11, 2019 - World
How ready is the U.S. for a North Korean missile attack?

We break down North Korea's missile capabilities and how prepared the U.S. is to block them if necessary.

Jan 5, 2018 - Politics & Policy

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Dave Lawler, author of World
Nov 12, 2020 - World

Nuclear challenges from Russia, Iran and North Korea now fall to Biden

Photo illustration: Eniola Odetunde/Axios. Photo: Drew Angerer/Getty Images

Joe Biden will face three urgent nuclear challenges upon entering the White House.

Why it matters: Arms control with Russia is crumbling, Iran’s uranium stockpiles are growing, and North Korea is as vexing and threatening as ever.

Oct 10, 2020 - World

North Korea unveils new ballistic missile during military parade

A person in Seoul watching the North Korean military parade on television on Oct. 10. Photo: Jung Yeon-Je/AFP via Getty Images

North Korea unveiled what appeared to be a new intercontinental ballistic missile during a military parade on Saturday night, though it is unclear whether the weapon is functional or built for show, according to the New York Times.

Why it matters: If it does work, analysts say it would be North Korea's largest long-range missile to date, potentially able to fly further and carry a more powerful nuclear warhead than the country's previous ICBMs.

Sep 25, 2020 - World

Kim Jong-un apologizes over killing of South Korean official

Photo: Brendan Smialowski/AFP via Getty Images

North Korean leader Kim Jong-un apologized Friday for the death of a South Korean official who was killed while seemingly attempting to defect to the North by sea, AP reports.

Why it matters: It's a rare bout of humility from Kim toward his neighbor to the south, and could de-escalate rising tensions between the two nations — at least for the time being.

Bryan Walsh, author of Future
Aug 5, 2020 - World

How new tech raises the risk of nuclear war

Illustration: Annelise Capossela/Axios

75 years after Hiroshima and Nagasaki, some experts believe the risk of the use of a nuclear weapon is as high now as it has been since the Cuban missile crisis.

The big picture: Nuclear war remains the single greatest present threat to humanity — and one that is poised to grow as emerging technologies, like much faster missiles, cyber warfare and artificial intelligence, upset an already precarious nuclear balance.

Dave Lawler, author of World
Jun 17, 2020 - World

North Korea to deploy troops into former inter-Korean cooperation zones

Kim Jong-un in Hanoi. Photo: Manan Vatsyayana/AFP via Getty

North Korea has announced it will send troops into sites previously used to foster cooperation with South Korea a day after demolishing an inter-Korean liaison office.

Why it matters: North Korea is wiping out all remnants of the detente with South Korea that began in 2018, and taking dramatic symbolic steps to signal a new more hostile era in relations. Pyongyang has also said it will resume military exercises and reestablish guard posts near the heavily fortified border.

May 24, 2020 - World

O'Brien: U.S. likely to impose sanctions if China moves ahead with Hong Kong law

White House national security adviser Robert O'Brien said on NBC's "Meet the Press" Sunday that the U.S. government will likely impose economic sanctions on Hong Kong and China if Beijing moves ahead with a proposed national security law for Hong Kong that could constrain the special region's autonomy.

Why it matters: O'Brien said the U.S. could revoke a special status that allows Hong Kong to function as an international financial hub, stating that it's "hard to see" how the financial community can remain in the city if the law is enacted.

May 3, 2020 - World

North and South Korean soldiers exchange gunfire across DMZ

South Korean troops patrolling the DMZ on April 23. Photo by Ed Jones/AFP via Getty Images

North and South Korean troops exchanged fire across the Demilitarized Zone on Sunday. The South Korean military suffered no casualties, and officials said it’s unlikely that North Korea had any casualties, according to AP.

Why it matters: It's the first violent confrontation between the two countries on the border since 2017, and it comes after weeks of conflicting reports about the health of North Korean dictator Kim Jong-un.

Dave Lawler, author of World
Apr 23, 2020 - World

What to make of Kim Jong-un's disappearance

Have you seen this man? Photo: STR/AFP via Getty Images

Kim Jong-un’s status remains a mystery after a week of rumors about the North Korean dictator’s health and chatter in Washington about succession.

Why it matters: “This should be a huge reminder of how much regional stability rests on this one leader,” says Jung Pak, a former CIA officer and author of the forthcoming book “Becoming Kim Jong-un.”

Updated Mar 22, 2020 - World

North Korea claims Trump sent letter to Kim Jong-un offering coronavirus help

North Korean leader Kim Jong-un. Photo: Brendan Smialowski/AFP via Getty Images

Kim Jong-un's sister said Sunday that President Trump sent a personal letter to the North Korean leader offering cooperation to help the country combat the coronavirus outbreak, according to AP.

Why it matters: Though the North Korean government has yet to report a single case of the new virus within its borders, international experts doubt the claim and fear that an outbreak there would topple the country's poor medical infrastructure and become a humanitarian disaster.

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