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CIAO Focus, November 2006: North Korea's Nuclear Weapons Program


On October 9, North Korea, also known as the Democratic People's Republic of Korea, carried out an underground nuclear explosion sparking fears of a possible arms race in the region. The test was strongly condemned by neighboring countries, including Pyongyang's closest ally China, which backed the UN Security Council in imposing financial and weapons sanctions on the newly established nuclear power.

In 1994 North Korea agreed to suspend all nuclear-related activities and to allow weapons inspectors from the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) to monitor the country's compliance with the agreement. However, tensions with the United States flared up again following President Bush's post-9/11 axis of evil speech which implicated the North Koreans. In response, North Korea restarted its nuclear reactor at Yongbyon and expelled the weapons inspectors from the country. It also pulled out of the Nuclear Non-proliferation Treaty.

The current crisis appears to have been diffused, at least for the time being. China made a major diplomatic breakthrough in late October when it convinced North Korea to resume multilateral nuclear disarmament talks for the first time in almost a year.

This month CIAO examines North Korea's nuclear weapons program.


From the CIAO Database:

Uses of Ambiguity in North Korea Agreement

North Korea Triumphs Again in Diplomacy

Japan and North Korea: Bones of Contention

Food Security in North Korea: Designing Realistic Possibilities

North Korea: A Rogue State Outside the NPT Fold

Outside Links*:

North Korea Special Collection (Center for Nonproliferation Studies)

Question & Answer: North Korea Nuclear Standoff (BBC News)

North Korea's Nuclear Weapons Program (CRS Report for Congress)

International Atomic Energy Agency

The Treaty on Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons


* Outside links are not maintained. For broken outside links, CIAO recommends the Way Back Machine.